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Title: Menu adequacy and nutritional status of children aged 6-19 years residing in child and youth care facilities in Durban
Authors: Mbambo, Thembelihle Jessica Sibusisiwe 
Issue Date: 2022
The primary function of Child and Youth Care Facilities (CYCFs) is to provide a safe and secure
environment run by trained and capable child and youth-care workers while the parents may not be capable
of taking care of their children for various reasons. For children 6 - 19 years of age, the meals should provide
at least 60-100% of the daily nutritional requirements. Studies worldwide have shown that child malnutrition
and lack of access to healthy foods is still one of the biggest contributors to child mortality.
The main objective of the study was to analyse the nutritional adequacy of the menus, the food variety and
the nutritional status of 6–19 year-old children residing in child and youth care facilities in Durban.
Four CYCFs were randomly selected where the sample population consisted of (n=211) children between
the ages of 6-19 years. The anthropometric measurements for weight and height were collected to
determine BMI-for-age and height-for-age. The researcher also collected menus and recipes for analysis
using Food Finder® version 3 and also conducted plate waste studies to analyse food wastage. The sample
population consisted of (n=22) Child and Youth Care Workers (CYCWs) who completed the FFQ, the sociodemographic questionnaire and the nutrition knowledge questionnaire. Trained fieldworkers assisted in the
interview process and the total sample size resulted in (n=233) participants.
The anthropometric indices showed a low prevalence (9.3%; n=7) of severely stunted children and stunted
(9.3%; n=7) children amongst the boys. None of the children in this study were affected by wasting;
however, the study indicated that 15.3% (n=21) of the girls were overweight and 16.7% (n=23) of the girls
were obese. The results reported that the children were served an average portion size of 195- 287.41g of
starchy foods, and the portion sizes of vegetables were below the recommended daily requirements
resulting in poor micronutrient intake. The FVS in the CYCFs indicated that the highest number of individual
foods consumed was between 20-40 individual foods and this indicated a medium food variety score. The
results of the socio-demographic questionnaire revealed that most of the CYCWs were mothers who were
the head of their households. The majority of the CYCWs had not obtained a relevant tertiary education,
72.7% had obtained a standard 10/ matric certification and 22.7% had obtained a college/FET qualification
and none of the CYCWs had received training for food preparation at the CYCFs. The nutrition knowledge
questionnaires indicated that more than 50% of the CYCWs answered the questions correctly CONCLUSION
Overall, the majority of the meals met 100% of the daily nutrient requirements for carbohydrates, protein
and fats. The majority of the micronutrients did not meet 100% of DRIs.
The CYCWs needed relevant training on food preparation and food handling as well as nutrition education
to improve their nutrition knowledge. More nutrition interventions should be implemented to help combat
nutrition deficiencies.
Dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Applied Science in Food and Nutrition in the Department of Food and Nutrition: Consumer Science, Faculty of Applied Sciences at the
Durban University of Technology, 2023.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Applied Sciences)

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