Nutritional status and food intake data on children and adolescents in residential care facilities in Durban
Objective: The aim of this study was to examine growth indicators and dietary intake patterns of children aged 4-18 years residing in residential care facilities in Durban.
Method: Thirty-three girls and 110 boys, aged 5-18 years, in three different children’s homes participated in the study. Anthropometric measurements included weight and height and were analysed using the World Health Organization’s AnthroPlus® version 1.0.2 statistical software. The seven-day-cycle menus were analysed for nutrient and energy intake using the FoodFinder® version 3 software programme. Daily nutrient intakes were reported as means and standard deviations, and comparisons were made with the dietary reference intakes for specific age groups. Average served portion sizes were established by plate waste studies and observation.
Results: The results showed that stunting and overweight were prevalent in this group. 4.7% of the boys aged 4-8 years and 3.3% of the boys aged 14-18 years were severely stunted. 13.3% of the girls aged 9-13 years and 20% of the girls aged 14-18 years were stunted. The body mass index for age reported that a small number (6.7% of the girls aged 9-13 years and 3.3% of the boys aged 14-18 years) were wasted. The results also showed that 33.3% of the girls aged 4-8 years and 33.4% of the girls aged 9-13 years were at risk of being overweight. 26.7% of the girls aged 14-18 years were overweight (> + 2 standard deviations). Most of the children in the 4-8 age group (83.3% of the boys and 100% of the girls) fell in the normal range for weight for age, while only one boy was underweight. One hundred per cent or more of the dietary reference intakes for energy, protein, carbohydrate and most of the micronutrients were met, except for calcium and iodine. A low intake of vitamin C among older boys and girls was reported. None of the groups met the recommended fibre intake.
Conclusion: The results indicated a need for the development and implementation of a comprehensive nutrition education programme for
both child care workers and children.
Keywords: nutritional status, food intake data, children, adolescents, residential care facilities