Completeness of the road-to-health card and factors affecting knowledge and practices of growth monitoring and promotion in caregivers of young children in KwaZulu-Natal

Malnutrition in children is a global public health challenge. Malnutrition includes undernutrition (stunting, wasting and essential micronutrient deficiencies) and overnutrition (obesity or over-consumption of specific nutrients). Undernutrition can lead to stunted growth, delayed cognitive development, higher morbidity and childhood mortality. Overnutrition and obesity are associated with adverse psychological (anxiety, depression, negative self-image) and health (diabetes, cardiovascular events) outcomes during childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

Diet quality of adults with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus at a tertiary hospital outpatient clinic in Tshwane District, South Africa

The burden of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) in Africa is growing, with similar trends being observed in South Africa. In South Africa, few (< 30%) people living with T2DM have acceptable glycaemic control (HbA1c < 7%). Optimal glycaemic control can be achieved if people living with T2DM embrace and adopt healthy behaviours including an appropriate diet, exercise and proper use of medication when indicated. Nutrition therapy is an integral component of diabetes management. Current dietary guidelines for diabetes recommend a healthy eating plan based on a variety of nutrient dense, high-quality foods in appropriate portions aimed at overall health, improving metabolic control and preventing complications.

Feasibility and acceptability of continuous at-home glucose monitoring during pregnancy: a mixed-methods pilot study

Point-in-time self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBC) is a limited technology that fails to offer significant value in understanding the temporal relationship between blood glucose levels and daily activities. Continuous glucose monitors (CGM) fill this gap by automatically recording interstitial glucose concentration levels every few minutes for a period of 14 days. These data on direction, magnitude, duration and frequency of glucose-level fluctuation are accessible to both user and healthcare provider in real time. Early CGM systems were inaccurate, costly and hard to come by.  However, as the technology has improved and costs have reduced, data now suggest that CGM provides similar accuracy to SMBG, but with significant advantages, particularly in the ability to tailor therapy to the needs of each individual.

Food and nutrition labelling as a nutrition education tool: understanding, perspectives and practices of South African dietitians.

Diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, and acknowledged as a global burden and threat to development in the twenty-first century. South Africa’s population is experiencing a rapid surge in NCDs attributed to nutrition transition, rapid shifts in socioeconomic development and urbanisation. The South African Demographic and Health Survey of 2016 indicated that obesity, a risk factor for most NCDs, is of major concern, highlighting the need to address dietary choices and food-purchasing decisions of South Africans.

Exploring the infant feeding experiences of mothers living in selected Tshwane informal settlements: a qualitative study

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 75% of all deaths of children under the age of five years occurred within the first year of life in 2017. The 2016 South African Health and Demographic Survey (SAHDS) has also reported a reduced but concerning infant mortality rate of 35 per 1 000 live births. A significant proportion (45%) of global childhood deaths were directly or indirectly linked to undernutrition in 2011, with 11.6% of these being attributed to sub-optimal breastfeeding practices in younger children. This is because a link between infant feeding practices, malnutrition and a number of health conditions experienced in childhood has been established.

Energy and nutrient contribution of different food groups to the dietary intake of 6- to <9-month-old infants in a low socioeconomic community in North West Province, South Africa

Good nutrition and optimal feeding practices during infancy ensure child growth and development. The complementary feeding period is the largest part of the ‘first 1000 days of life’, which is considered a window of opportunity for preventing malnutrition and its consequences. At age six months, nutrient-rich complementary foods should be introduced, along with continued breastfeeding, to meet infants’ high nutrient requirements. However, complementary foods in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are often nutritionally inadequate and are deficient in several micronutrients, with iron, zinc and calcium being considered ‘problem nutrients’. Poor diet and inappropriate complementary feeding practices are the most common drivers of malnutrition in early childhood.  Furthermore, growth faltering commonly occurs between the ages of 6 and 24 months in LMICs. Hence, promoting optimal nutrition during the complementary feeding period is a health priority.

Food and nutrition labelling as a nutrition education tool: understanding, perspectives and practices of South African dietitians – reading without comprehension (understanding)

The Global Burden of Disease Study group recently stated that poor-quality diets are now the leading cause of disease worldwide. Consumer education by means of food product labelling can guide the consumer decision-making process, encourage consumers to make informed healthier food choices, and thus help to alleviate the burden of disease. Food labelling can also assist producers to promote their products based on the nutritional benefits that they offer. However, consumers’ understanding of labelling and what this means to them may hinder the good intentions of accurately crafted labels. A label is a producer’s main form of communication with consumers and can sway a consumer to either consume or reject a food product.

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South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - 2023 - Vol 36 Issue 3