Availability of, access to and consumption of fruits and vegetables in a peri-urban area in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.Matern Child Nutr 2013; 9(3):409-24MC
Availability and consumption of fruits and vegetables were assessed in peri-urban households in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. Caregivers of 400 randomly selected grade 6 and 7 learners were interviewed using a questionnaire that included unquantified food frequency questions. Using a repeated 24-h dietary recall, dietary intake was quantified for learners, caregivers and 2- to 5-year-old children in the household. Usual household fruit and vegetable consumption was expressed over three Living Standard Measure (LSM) categories. Average per capita intake of fruit and/or vegetables was 99 g for 2- to 5-year-old children and 124 g for caregivers. For consumers, fruits and/or vegetables contributed towards total dietary intake of fibre (16-21%), calcium (13-21%), vitamin A (27-31%) and vitamin C (47-62%). For households not consuming fruits (n = 297) and vegetables (n = 178) daily, cost was the major constraint (≥75%). Of all households, 52% had fruit trees and 25% had a vegetable garden. Animals destroying vegetables was the major constraint to 59% of vegetable growers. Household consumption of fruits and vegetables increased over the LSM categories. Caregivers in the higher LSM group more likely used printed material for information on healthy eating, had fruit trees, were confident about vegetable gardening and sold some of their produce. To enable peri-urban populations of low socio-economic status to consume more frequently a bigger variety of fruits and vegetables, the cost of purchasing these food items needs to be addressed by government and business sector. Households should further receive support to overcome constraints which hamper the success of home gardens.