Special Issue "The Nutrition Transition and Physical Inactivity and Health Outcomes thereof in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: From Preconception to Adulthood"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Emeritus Prof. Nelia Steyn

Guest Editor
Division Human Nutrition, Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town, P/Bag X3, Observatory, Cape Town 7925, South Africa
Interests: dietary methodology; non-communicable diseases; type 2 diabetes; obesity and the double burden of malnutrition
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Marjanne Senekal

Guest Editor
Division of Human Nutrition, Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town 8000, South Africa
Interests: dietary intake; obesity; behaviour change intervention design for weight management
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Globally, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are major causes of mortality, with cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic lung diseases, and diabetes being the most prolific. Almost 40 million people die annually from NCDs, with an estimated 80% of these occurring in low- and middle-income countries. However, most of these diseases can be prevented through limiting exposure to the known shared risk factors such as unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, tobacco use, and harmful use of alcohol.

The underlying drivers of the shift in dietary patterns (nutrition transition) and physical inactivity have been well described by Popkin. The first of these is technology which includes both labor-saving equipment, transport options, increased leisure activities, and food technology in the broadest sense. Urbanization has greatly accelerated in the past century and has resulted in greater access to a greater variety of foods, including processed foods, frequently at the expense of a traditional healthier diet. A shift in income per capita has also resulted in the price of food decreasing exponentially and there has been an enormous expansion of global trade, which makes access to modern technology available on a very large scale.

Another feature of the nutrition transition is the double burden of disease, both over- and undernutrition co-exist. Many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), for example, have both a high prevalence of stunting in children and of overweight and obesity in mothers. Obesity in children has also increased globally in the past decade. Obese children are more likely to become obese adults, who in turn appear to be more at risk of developing chronic NCDs in later life.

In recognition of the magnitude of the increasing challenges of the nutrition transition coupled with increased physical inactivity levels in developing countries the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health devotes this Special Issue to recent findings in “The Nutrition Transition and Physical Inactivity and the Health Outcomes thereof in Low- and Middle-Income countries: From Preconception to Adulthood”.

You are invited to submit manuscripts to be considered for publication in this Special Issue. We will particularly welcome submissions from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Emeritus Prof. Nelia Steyn
Prof. Dr. Marjanne Senekal
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Provincial Dietary Intake Study (PDIS): Micronutrient Intakes of Children in a Representative/Random Sample of 1- to <10-Year-Old Children in Two Economically Active and Urbanized Provinces in South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5924; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165924 - 14 Aug 2020
Abstract
In 1999, the National Food Consumption Survey found serious risk of dietary deficiency for a number of micronutrients in 1- to 9-year-old children in South Africa. To address these shortfalls, fortification with vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron and [...] Read more.
In 1999, the National Food Consumption Survey found serious risk of dietary deficiency for a number of micronutrients in 1- to 9-year-old children in South Africa. To address these shortfalls, fortification with vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron and zinc of maize meal and bread flour was made mandatory in 2003. The aim of this study was to examine micronutrient intakes of 1- to <10-year-old children after nearly 20 years of fortification in two of the most urbanized and economically active provinces, Gauteng (GTG) and the Western Cape (WC). A multistage stratified cluster random sampling design and methodology was used. Households were visited by fieldworkers who interviewed caregivers and obtained dietary intake data by means of a multiple-pass 24-h recall. Two additional 24-h recalls were completed among a nested sample of 146 participants to adjust the single 24-h recall data of the total sample using the National Cancer Institute Method. Results show that median intake of all the fortification nutrients were above the estimated average requirement (EAR), with the only concern being folate in the WC. Between a quarter and a third of children in the WC, where maize porridge intake was significantly lower than in GTG, had a folate intake below the EAR. Nutrients that are not included in the fortification mix that remain a serious concern are calcium and vitamin D, with intake of dairy and vitamin D sources being very limited in both provinces. The improvement in micronutrient intakes of children is encouraging, however the outstanding nutrient deficiency risks need attention. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Dietary Practices and Adolescent Obesity in Secondary School Learners at Disadvantaged Schools in South Africa: Urban–Rural and Gender Differences
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5864; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165864 - 13 Aug 2020
Abstract
South Africa has a high prevalence of obesity in black female adolescents and a paucity of knowledge regarding contributing dietary practices. The aim of this study was to assess the dietary practices and weight status of male and female adolescents at secondary schools [...] Read more.
South Africa has a high prevalence of obesity in black female adolescents and a paucity of knowledge regarding contributing dietary practices. The aim of this study was to assess the dietary practices and weight status of male and female adolescents at secondary schools in the Eastern Cape province in urban and rural areas. Sixteen schools and grade 8–12 learners (N = 1360) were randomly selected from three health districts comprising poor disadvantaged communities. A short unquantified food frequency questionnaire was used to collect data on learners’ usual eating practices with regards to weekly meal pattern, breakfast consumption, foods taken to school, takeaways, and snacks eaten while watching television (TV). Body mass index measurements were determined for each learner. Prevalence of combined overweight and obesity differed significantly between genders, 9.9% in males versus 36.1% in females (p < 0.001). Significant gender differences were noted regarding eating practices. Females had a higher frequency of eating sugary snacks (p < 0.001) and a lower frequency of eating breakfast (p < 0.01) than males. Females ate significantly more fried fish (p < 0.05), pizza (p < 0.05) fat cakes (fried dough balls) (p < 0.05), hotdogs (p < 0.01), candy (p < 0.001), cake (p < 0.01), and crisps (p < 0.001). Compared to urban areas, the frequency of eating breakfast (p < 0.01) and sugary snacks (p < 0.05) was significantly higher in rural areas. Significantly more learners in urban areas consumed boerewors (beef sausage) rolls (p = 0.027), hamburgers (p = 0.004), and soft drinks (p = 0.019), while more learners in the rural areas consumed cordial (p = 0.001). In conclusion, a high prevalence of combined overweight and obesity was found in black female adolescents and a high prevalence of poor dietary practices was observed, with significant gender and urban–rural differences. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Food and Nutrition Environment at Secondary Schools in the Eastern Cape, South Africa as Reported by Learners
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4038; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114038 - 05 Jun 2020
Abstract
Overweight and obesity are growing concerns in adolescents, particularly in females in South Africa. The aim of this study was to evaluate the food and nutrition environment in terms of government policy programs, nutrition education provided, and foods sold at secondary schools in [...] Read more.
Overweight and obesity are growing concerns in adolescents, particularly in females in South Africa. The aim of this study was to evaluate the food and nutrition environment in terms of government policy programs, nutrition education provided, and foods sold at secondary schools in the Eastern Cape province. Sixteen schools and grade 8–12 learners (N = 1360) were randomly selected from three health districts comprising poor disadvantaged communities. Based on age and sex specific body mass index (BMI) cut-off values, 13.3% of males and 5.5% of females were underweight, while 9.9% of males and 36.1% of females were overweight or obese. The main food items purchased at school were unhealthy energy-dense items such as fried flour dough balls, chocolates, candies, and crisps/chips. Nutrition knowledge scores based on the South African food-based dietary guidelines (FBDGs) were poor for 52% to 23.4% learners in Grades 8 to 12, respectively. Female learners generally had significantly higher nutrition knowledge scores compared to their male counterparts (p = 0.016). Questions poorly answered by more than 60% of learners, included the number of fruit and vegetable portions required daily, food to eat when overweight, foods containing fiber, and importance of legumes. It was noted that the majority of teachers who taught nutrition had no formal nutrition training and their responses to knowledge questions were poor indicating that they were not familiar with the FBDGs, which are part of the curriculum. Nutrition assessment as part of the Integrated School Health Program was done on few learners. Overall however, despite some challenges the government national school meal program provided meals daily to 96% of learners. In general, the school food and nutrition environment was not conducive for promoting healthy eating. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Provincial Dietary Intake Study (PDIS): Energy and Macronutrient Intakes of Children in a Representative/Random Sample of 1–<10-Year-Old Children in Two Economically Active and Urbanized Provinces in South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1717; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051717 - 05 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The double burden of malnutrition is still prevalent in South Africa, hence the importance of a dietary survey to identify risks of under- and over-nutrition. A multistage stratified cluster random sampling design was applied in two economically active provinces, Gauteng (GTG) (N = [...] Read more.
The double burden of malnutrition is still prevalent in South Africa, hence the importance of a dietary survey to identify risks of under- and over-nutrition. A multistage stratified cluster random sampling design was applied in two economically active provinces, Gauteng (GTG) (N = 733) and Western Cape (WC) (N = 593). Field workers completed questionnaires, and a 24 h recall with children taking part aged 1–<10-years (N = 1326). Important findings were that 71% and 74%, respectively, of 3–<6-year-olds and 6–<10-year-olds had an energy intake below the estimated energy requirement (EER), while 66% 1–<3-year-olds had intakes above the EER. The percentage of children with a total fat intake below recommended levels decreased as age increased ((51%, 40% and 5%) respectively, for the three age groups). Similarly, the percentage of those who had a total fat intake above the recommendation increased with increasing age (4%, 11% and 26%, respectively, for the three age groups). Saturated fat intake above 10%E was highest in the youngest and oldest children (33% and 32%, respectively). The percentage of children with a free sugars intake above 10%E was 47%, 48% and 52% respectively, and 98–99% had a fibre intake that was less than recommended. Overall, the diet was not healthy, with the main food items being very refined, and the diet being high in salty snacks and sugary items, and low in fruit, vegetables and legumes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Tool to Increase Physical Activity among People at Risk for Diabetes in Low-Resourced Communities in Cape Town
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 865; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030865 - 30 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Targeted lifestyle interventions, including physical activity (PA), have been proven to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. South Africa’s unique context, complex environment and varied cultures and ethnicities require tailored interventions. Our objective was to develop a context-appropriate tool for the South [...] Read more.
Targeted lifestyle interventions, including physical activity (PA), have been proven to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. South Africa’s unique context, complex environment and varied cultures and ethnicities require tailored interventions. Our objective was to develop a context-appropriate tool for the South African Diabetes Prevention Programme’s PA lifestyle component in order to enable people at risk of developing diabetes to adopt PA. We used mixed methods to inform the development of the tool. Descriptive analyses of baseline survey data included socio-demographics, anthropometrics, blood pressure and biochemical measurements, reported medical history, PA behaviours, and built environment information. Focus group discussions assisted in understanding perceived challenges, barriers and facilitators/opportunities to PA. A literature search on successful South African PA interventions was done, and PA experts in Cape Town were consulted. Quantitative data were analysed using the software R, version 3.4.4 and qualitative data were thematically analysed. Participants (n = 316) recruited were mostly black (54.4%) and of mixed-ancestry (44.6%); they were mainly female (80.1%), obese (75.2%), and had an haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) above 5.7% (65.5%), with 30% having hypertension and 87% (self-reported) meeting the World Health Organisation (WHO) PA recommendation. Main barriers to PA practice were safety, cost and accessibility of sports facilities, and laziness. We included practising moderate-intensity aerobic and resistance exercises and take-home self-help materials as recommended. By combining results, we produced a targeted, practical and promotional PA booklet. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Provincial Dietary Intake Study (PDIS): Prevalence and Sociodemographic Determinants of the Double Burden of Malnutrition in A Representative Sample of 1 to Under 10-Year-Old Children from Two Urbanized and Economically Active Provinces in South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(18), 3334; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183334 - 10 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and socio-demographic predictors of malnutrition in two urbanized economically active provinces (Gauteng N = 733, Western Cape N = 593) in South Africa. A multistage stratified cluster random sampling design was applied. Fieldworkers [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and socio-demographic predictors of malnutrition in two urbanized economically active provinces (Gauteng N = 733, Western Cape N = 593) in South Africa. A multistage stratified cluster random sampling design was applied. Fieldworkers visited homes, measured children aged 1-<10-years old (N = 1326) and administered a questionnaire (mother/primary caregiver). In under-five year old children (N = 674) 21.6% were stunted [height-for-age z-score < −2 SD], 5.6 % underweight [weight-for-age z-score < −2 SD], 10.3% overweight (body mass index-for-age z-score) (BAZ)> +2 SD ≤ +3 SD] and 7.0% obese (BAZ > +3 SD). In 5–<10-year olds (N = 626) 6.7% were stunted, 6.8% underweight, 13.4% overweight and 6.8% obese. Stunting and overweight in the same child was present in 5.7% under-five year olds and 1.7% in 5–<10-year olds. Multiple logistic regression analyses identified having a mother with a post-grade 12 qualification (OR = 0.34) and having an obese mother (OR 0.46) as protectors and being in the under-five age group (OR = 3.73) as a risk factor for stunting. Being in the under-five age group was also a risk factor for a BAZ > 1 (OR 2.39), while being in the third wealth quintile was protective (OR = 0.62). Results indicate that stunting and overweight/obesity are still present at concerning levels, especially in the under-five age group. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Childhood Undernutrition and Its Predictors in a Rural Health and Demographic Surveillance System Site in South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(17), 3021; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16173021 - 21 Aug 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Background: Overweight and obesity are increasing at an alarming rate in South Africa, while childhood undernutrition remains persistently high. This study determined the magnitude and predictors of stunting and underweight among schoolchildren in the Dikgale and Health Demographic Surveillance System Site, a rural [...] Read more.
Background: Overweight and obesity are increasing at an alarming rate in South Africa, while childhood undernutrition remains persistently high. This study determined the magnitude and predictors of stunting and underweight among schoolchildren in the Dikgale and Health Demographic Surveillance System Site, a rural site in South Africa. Methods: A cross sectional study using multistage sampling was conducted among 508 schoolchildren and their mothers. Anthropometric measurements were taken from children and their mothers, while sociodemographic information was obtained from mothers using a questionnaire. The World Health Organization Anthro Plus was used to generate height-for-age and weight-for-age z-scores to indicate stunting and underweight, respectively, among the children. Maternal overweight and obesity were assessed using body mass index. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate the predictors of stunting and underweight among schoolchildren. Results: Twenty-two percent (22%) of children were stunted and 27% were underweight, while 27.4% of the mothers were overweight and 42.3% were obese. The odds of being stunted were lower in younger children, whereas having a mother who was overweight/obese and had a short stature increased the odds of stunting. Access to water, having a refrigerator, and having a young mother were protective against being underweight. Having a mother who was overweight/obese increased the odds of being underweight. Conclusions: The study showed a high prevalence of stunting and underweight among children, and overweight and obesity among mothers, indicating a household double burden of malnutrition. The age of the child and maternal overweight/obesity and short stature were predictors of stunting and underweight, while having a younger mother and access to water and a refrigerator were protective against being underweight. The need for an evidence-based and feasible nutrition program for schoolchildren, especially those in rural schools, cannot be over-emphasized. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Attending Informal Preschools and Daycare Centers Is a Risk Factor for Underweight, Stunting and Wasting in Children under the Age of Five Years in Underprivileged Communities in South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(14), 2589; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16142589 - 20 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The study objectives were to determine the nutritional status of children between the ages of 12–60 months and to establish the association between attending preschool and the prevalence of undernutrition. This was a cross-sectional survey conducted in health facilities in Tshwane district in [...] Read more.
The study objectives were to determine the nutritional status of children between the ages of 12–60 months and to establish the association between attending preschool and the prevalence of undernutrition. This was a cross-sectional survey conducted in health facilities in Tshwane district in South Africa, consisting of both a questionnaire and anthropometric measures of 1256 mothers and their children. Weight-for-age (WAZ), height-for age (HAZ) and BMI-for-age (BAZ) were calculated and bivariate and multivariable analysis was performed to establish association. The results showed that child-related factors, namely birthweight, age, gender, and attending preschool increased the risk of undernutrition. Children over the age of 24 months were likely to be stunted and underweight. Maternal education reduced the odds of underweight. Children who stayed at home had reduced odds of underweight and stunting. High birthweight reduced the odds of wasting and underweight. The risks for undernutrition are multifaceted, but children who attend preschool have an increased risk of undernutrition. The risk of undernutrition increased with age and coincided with the time of cessation of breast-feeding and attendance at daycare or preschool. The complementary role of quality childcare in preschools and daycare centers is vital in alleviating the problem of undernutrition in underprivileged communities. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview
Dietary Sources of Salt in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Literature Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(12), 2082; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16122082 - 12 Jun 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
Rapid urbanization in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is transforming dietary patterns from reliance on traditional staples to increased consumption of energy-dense foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, sugars, and salt. A systematic literature review was conducted to determine major food sources [...] Read more.
Rapid urbanization in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is transforming dietary patterns from reliance on traditional staples to increased consumption of energy-dense foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, sugars, and salt. A systematic literature review was conducted to determine major food sources of salt in LMICs that could be targeted in strategies to lower population salt intake. Articles were sourced using Medline, Web of Science, Scopus, and grey literature. Inclusion criteria were: reported dietary intake of Na/salt using dietary assessment methods and food composition tables and/or laboratory analysis of salt content of specific foods in populations in countries defined as low or middle income (LMIC) according to World Bank criteria. Of the 3207 records retrieved, 15 studies conducted in 12 LMICs from diverse geographical regions met the eligibility criteria. The major sources of dietary salt were breads, meat and meat products, bakery products, instant noodles, salted preserved foods, milk and dairy products, and condiments. Identification of foods that contribute to salt intake in LMICs allows for development of multi-faceted approaches to salt reduction that include consumer education, accompanied by product reformulation. Full article
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