Original Research

Feeding practices of caregivers with children attending early childhood development centres in Xhariep, South Africa

Angelique C. Carson-Porter, Violet L. van den Berg, Ntsoaki L. Meko
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 29 | a2575 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v29i0.2575 | © 2024 Angelique C. Carson-Porter, Violet L. van den Berg, Ntsoaki L. Meko | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 December 2023 | Published: 02 July 2024

About the author(s)

Angelique C. Carson-Porter, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Violet L. van den Berg, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Ntsoaki L. Meko, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Abstract

Background: In low- to middle-income countries, malnutrition is a major contributing factor in children failing to achieve their developmental potential. The prevention of malnutrition requires, among others, nutritious, diverse and safe foods in early childhood.

Aim: The study aimed to determine primary caregivers’ choices and motivation for the foods they fed their children.

Setting: The study was conducted among early childhood development centres in the Xhariep District, Free State.

Methods: A qualitative study was undertaken. Twelve participants who met the inclusion criteria were conveniently sampled. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to find out the primary caregivers’ choices and motivation for foods they fed their children until data saturation was reached.

Results: The mean age of the participants was 31 years. Nine of the participants relied on social grants as a source of income. The participants reported feeding their children mainly maize porridge, milk, juice, and water. Vegetables and meat were fed to the children once a week. Fruits were fed to the children at the beginning of the month.

Conclusion: The level of education, employment status, and community support influenced the primary caregivers’ feeding practices. The content of the diets of their children was insufficient in vegetables and fruit, not only placing the children at risk of undernutrition but also at risk of obesity and micronutrient deficiencies. Primary caregivers ensured their children were fed, although limited foods were offered.

Contribution: This research creates awareness of the level of social progress and access to resources within rural communities in the Xhariep district, and gives the opportunity to extend this research to confirm these findings in other poverty-stricken areas.


Keywords

child health; mothers; poverty; rural; unemployment; educational level.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation

Metrics

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