Dietary Intakes | South African Schoolchildren

ILSI South Africa funded a review of dietary studies in schoolchildren done after 1999. The goal was to determine whether there had been improvements in intakes of important micronutrients (iron; zinc; vitamin A; folate; thiamine; riboflavin; vitamin B6; and niacin) in children 6 - 15 years old.

The literature review was initiated to determine the effect of flour and maize meal fortification, which became mandatory in 2003. The significant finding was "a paucity of dietary studies which have included the fortified nutrients; only four, of which only one, reported on all micronutrients; making it difficult to determine whether fortification has improved the micronutrient intake of schoolchildren. This is further complicated by the fact that different dietary methods were used and that studies were only done in three of the nine provinces and thus are not generalizable."

ILSI South Africa and the authors hope their work will add support to the need for a national dietary study to determine the effect of fortification requirements on the health of schoolchildren.

The study, published in Nutrients, is open access and available online: Dietary Intake

More on ILSI South Africa's Nutrition Program

The Nutrition Task Force (NTF) was established by the ILSI South Africa Board of Trustees in 2014 in response to emerging priorities on nutrition and related public health concerns such as food security, nutrition transition, and obesity and non-communicable diseases.

The NTF comprises public trustees from the South Africa Department of Health, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations in South Africa, as well as ILSI South Africa's member company representatives.

The Vision of the NTF is:

ILSI South Africa NTF intends to contribute in relevant and meaningful ways to nutrition science informed by the pertinent needs identified for the South African population, through collaborative partnerships between academia, government and the industry.  The ILSI South Africa NTF will work to build, support and promote local relevant nutrition and public health science and capacity across the lifespan.

A key project being investigated by the NTF is a National Dietary Intake Study of the South African population across all demographics. The objectives of the study are to obtain an understanding of the macro- and micronutrient profile of the typical South African diet in relation to their anthropometric status and in the process to:

  • Understand dietary habits at individual, household and population levels;
  • Determine nutrient adequacy (including both macro and micronutrient adequacy) amongst the population;
  • Identify nutrition-related problems (under-nutrition, over-nutrition and deficiencies)
  • Determine dietary intakes and risk of disease

For more information about the NTF and how to contribute to its success, contact ILSI South Africa Secretariat Sharon Beeming at: