Development and evaluation of a nutrition education programme for primary school children in the Vaal Triangle

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Makanjana, Onwaba
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Objectives: The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a nutrition education programme for Setlabotjha Primary School children in order to improve current knowledge. The study included all grade seven learners from two primary schools in one of the poorest areas in the Vaal Triangle. Children form Setlabojha Primary School formed the experimental group, while children from Ekujuleni Primary School formed the control group. Methods: The initial steps involved a baseline survey (Napier 2001 :78), which indicated that malnutrition exists at Setlaboljha Primary School. The baseline survey indicated stunting, wasting, underweight and poor food consumption patterns among the children. A literature survey was conducted, as a result of the findings of malnutrition, poverty and household food insecurity in Eatonside. Pre-tests were undertaken to determine current nutritional knowledge (for both groups) using a nutritional knowledge questionnaire developed by the Medical Research Council. The pre-tests results revealed poor nutritional knowledge and these results were used to develop the nutrition education tool (nutrition education playing cards) based on the South African Food Based Dietary Guidelines. The intervention, which involved the issuing, reading. playing and exchanging of the nutrition education playing cards had taken place over eleven weeks for the experimental group. The control group had received pamphlets and nutrition education lessons. After the intervention had taken place, post-tests were undertaken to compare the difference between the two groups and to determine the effectiveness of the nutrition education programme. Results: In general, the subjects of both groups had a good knowledge regarding sugar, water and salt consumption, as well as 'the key to a healthy way of eating'. Thus the inclusion of fruit and vegetables and variety were in the diet. Poor knowledge was evident in both groups pertaining to pregnancy, the importance of starch in the diet, alcohol consnmption, physical activity, vitamin A-rich foods and the inclusion of pilchards as a calcium-rich source.
Thesis (M. Tech. (Food and Beverage Management, Dept. of Hospitality and Tourism)--Vaal University of Technology.
Nutrition of school children, Nutrition education, Nutrition education tool