The nutritional status of children is a valuable indicator of health status and can indicate inequalities in health faced by the populations. The preschool period is the critical stage of active development and growth of physical, social, and mental wellbeing of children. Children eating patterns and food preferences develop over a lifetime and are influenced by family, ethnicity, and social environment. The purpose of the study was to do a comparative analysis of the nutritional status of children aged 2 to 5 years attending early childhood development centres in South Africa. A quantitative descriptive design was used to assess the nutritional status of 872 children attending preschool in the Soshanguve, Moretele, and Makhuduthamaga areas, and data was collected using a structured, researcher-administered questionnaire. The variables collected were age, sex, weight, height, mid-upper arm circumference. Gender and agespecific BMI cut-off points were used to determine the nutritional status. The study sample consisted of 872 preschool children, of which 422 (48%) were males, and 450 (52%) were females. The prevalence of overweight; obesity, and undernutrition were 7.7%, 3.4%, and 3.2%, respectively. The findings of this study showed that in all ECDs areas, most of the male children had normal weight. In this study, the age of children (p=0.007), as well as ECDs area (p=0.000), influenced the BMI of the children (p=0.007), and that overweight was higher amongst older children, 4 & 5 years from rural ECD area. The prevalence of overweight amongst children was 4.2% (Soshanguve), 9.3% (Moretele), and 9.6% (Makhuduthamaga), and the prevalence of underweight amongst children was 3.9% in Soshanguve, 2.7% in Moretele, and 3.1% in Makhuduthamaga. The prevalence of underweight was higher in urban ECD areas as compared to ECDs in rural areas. In this study, overnutrition was more prevalent as compared to undernutrition.
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development|
|Publication status||Published - 2022|
- Nutritional status
- Preschool children