Food-based dietary guidelines as nutrition education tool : a study among Tswana women in the North West Province
Kgengwenyane, Tshwanelo Yvonne
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BACKGROUND AND MOTIVATION Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG) has been developed in South Africa as a consistent communication tool to represent agreement on how diet-related public health problems should be addressed. The guidelines demonstrate the striving towards equity in diet and health and the purpose is to optimise nutritional status in both disadvantaged and affluent communities. AIM The overall aim of the study was: To improve nutritional knowledge and practices by teaching rural, urban formal, urban informal and farm women of the Rustenburg area in the North-West Province using the food-based dietary guidelines. The more specific aims were: To assess the effectiveness of the South African Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG) as a nutrition education tool using focus group methodology. To identify constraints in understanding and implementing Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG). METHOD The focus groups were held with recruited Tswana women from the Rustenburg area in the North-West Province. The population was classified in four (4) strata namely: Group 1 -- Rural Group 2 -- Urban Formal Group 3 -- Urban Informal Group 4 -- Farm The nutrition education focused on the eleven (11) Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG). Training aids such as food pictures used. A questionnaire was completed as a baseline before the intervention and was repeated three (3) weeks after the intervention. The questionnaire was translated into the Tswana language. The evaluation was based on what they knew and their practices before the intervention as well as on what they remembered and whether they had been implementing the recommended steps afterwards (knowledge test and practices). Difficulties in implementing or reasons for not implementing the suggested steps were also reflected in the responses. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The conclusion reached after the intervention was that the different groups interpreted the messages carried by food-based dietary guidelines differently. Some groups reflected an increase in knowledge of a guideline as tested by the knowledge questionnaire and confirmed by the FBDG focus group discussions, while other groups reflected no change in knowledge for the same guideline. This was influenced by different circumstances such as preferences per individual and household, affordability and availability of food as well as prior knowledge. Lack of money was identified as a constraint that had an adverse effect on the implementation of the guidelines. In general the majority of the focus group participants understood the Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG). CONCLUSIONS It can be concluded from this study that it is possible to make use of these Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG) as nutrition education tool with success, if barriers to applicability, such as affordability of food, are incorporated in understanding these guidelines.
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