What's in the lunchbox?: dietary behaviour of learners from disadvantaged schools in the Western Cape, South Africa

SOURCE: Public Health Nutrition
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2011
TITLE AUTHOR(S): Z.Abrahams, A,De Villiers, N.P.Steyn, J.Fourie, L.Dalais, J.Hill, C.E.Draper, E.V.Lambert
KEYWORDS: EATING BEHAVIOUR, FOOD SECURITY, HEALTH, NUTRITION, OBESITY, SCHOOL CHILDREN, WEIGHT MANAGEMENT, WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 6845

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Abstract

To identify and describe factors associated with food shop (known as tuck shop in South Africa) and lunchbox behaviours of primary-school learners in South Africa. Analysis of data collected in 2008 from a cross-sectional survey. Sixteen primary schools in the Western Cape, South Africa. A total of 717 grade 4 learners aged 10-12 years. A 24 h recall established that 69% of learners carried a lunchbox to school and 49% had consumed at least one item purchased from the school food shop/ vendor. Most lunchboxes contained white bread with processed meat, whereas the most frequent food shop/vendor purchase comprised chips/crisps. Learners who carried a lunchbox to school had significantly lower BMI percentiles and BMI-for-age, compared with their counterparts. Moreover, they were younger, had higher standard-of-living and dietary diversity scores, consumed more meals per day, had greater self-efficacy and came from predominantly urban schools, compared with those who did not carry a lunchbox to school. Learners who ate food shop/vendor purchases had a lower standard-of-living score and higher dietary diversity and meal scores. Only 2% of learners were underweight, whereas 19% were stunted and 21% were overweight/obese. Children who carried a lunchbox to school appeared to have greater dietary diversity, consumed more regular meals, had a higher standard of living and greater nutritional self-efficacy compared with those who did not carry a lunchbox to school.