Poverty, household food insecurity and nutrition: Coping strategies in an informal settlement in the Vaal Triangle, South Africa

Wilna H. Oldewage-Theron, Emsie G. Dicks, Carin E. Napier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine household food security and coping strategies of an informal settlement in the Vaal Triangle. Study design: A survey study design was used. Methods: Pre-tested socio-demographic questionnaires were administered to 357 randomly selected caregivers and 149 children aged 9-13 years old. A validated quantified food frequency questionnaire (QFFQ) and 24-h recall were used to measure dietary intake and food consumption patterns and the Cornell hunger scale to determine coping strategies. Data were statistically analysed for means and standard deviations. Results: The results indicated that the majority of caregivers (68.8%) had an income of <R500 (77 US$) per month, 70.5% (n=190) indicated a frequent shortage of money and 58.3% spent less than R100 (15 US$) per week on food. The coping strategies used were: limiting the variety of foods served (74.7%), limiting portion sizes (80%), skipping of meals (68.4%) and maternal buffering (75.8%). Conclusions: It can be concluded that this is a poverty-stricken community with household food insecurity where the caregivers changed their food consumption patterns to cope, resulting in compromised nutrition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-804
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health
Volume120
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2006

Keywords

  • Coping strategies
  • Household food insecurity
  • Informal settlements
  • Malnutrition
  • Poverty

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