Situation analysis as indicator of food security in low-income rural communities
Chronic malnutrition was identified in a low-income rural Qwa-Qwa community. To verify the situation in the broader region, socio-demographic and economic determinants, dietary intake, and nutritional status were investigated as indicators of household and individual food security in three additional communities.
A cross-sectional baseline survey was conducted. A socio-demographic and economic questionnaire (n=271, both genders), a structured 24-hour recall questionnaire (n=383 female caregivers), and anthropometric measurements for body weight, height and waist circumference (n=207 female caregivers), were applied.
Households were mostly single-headed (51,5%), and characterised by a high level of unemployment (caregivers 75,7%, spouses 67,5%), larger than average household size (4,9 persons) and limited income (≤ZAR1500/month/household to meet all needs). A mainly staple-based diet was consumed, consisting of maize meal (88%), sugar (60%) and tea (50%). The extensive limitations reported in variety and quantities of food consumed compromised intake of most nutrients. Most respondents were either overweight (26%) or obese (41,9%).
The limitation in resources for obtaining appropriate foods for a nutritious diet signified compromised access to food. Insufficient food was available for consumption at household level, which jeopardised nutritional intake at individual level. The food situation of households and individuals in these communities is insecure.