Overview of field-testing of the revised, draft South African Paediatric Food- Based Dietary Guidelines amongst mothers/caregivers of children aged 0–5 years in the Western Cape and Mpumalanga, South Africa
Overview of field-testing of the revised, draft South African Paediatric Food-Based Dietary Guidelines
Background: This paper provides an overview of a series of studies undertaken to assess the appropriateness and understanding of the revised, draft South African Paediatric Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (SA-PFBDGs) amongst mothers/caregivers of children aged 0–5 years. Previous exposure to guidelines with similar messages, barriers and enablers to following the guidelines were also assessed.
Design: Qualitative methods were used to collect data from 38 focus-group discussions (isiXhosa = 11, Afrikaans = 11, English = 10 and siSwati = 6) resulting in 268 participants.
Setting: Breede Valley sub-district (Worcester), Stellenbosch Municipality (Stellenbosch, Pniel and Franschhoek) and Northern Metropole (Atlantis, Witsand, Du Noon and Blouberg), City of Cape Town, Western Cape province, as well as Ehlanzeni District (Kabokweni) in Mpumalanga province.
Subjects: Mothers/caregivers older than 18 years who provided informed consent to participate.
Results: The majority of participants had previous exposure to guidelines with similar messages to the SA-PFBDGs. Information sources included nurses, local clinics, family, friends and media. Possible barriers to following the guidelines included limited physical and financial access to resources; cultural/family practices, poor social support and time constraints. Outdated information, misconceptions, inconsistent messages and contrasting beliefs were evident. The vocabulary of some messages was not well understood. Education on infant and young child feeding and visual portrayal of the guidelines could aid understanding.
Conclusion: A degree of rewording should be considered for improved understanding of the revised, draft SA-PFBDGs. Once adopted, the guidelines can be used to educate various stakeholders, including parents, caregivers, healthcare providers and educators, on the correct nutritional advice for children aged 0–5 years ensuring the healthy growth and development of young children in South Africa.
KEYWORDS breastfeeding, complementary feeding, infants, young children, paediatric food-based dietary guidelines, South Africa, consumer testing
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