A survey was conducted in the Cape Town metropolitan area in 1990 to determine the dietary intake and anthropometric status of 3-6 year-old African children (N = 163). Dietary data obtained from 24-hour recalls revealed that mean energy intake (5200 kJ) was low and that mean intakes of most nutrients fell considerably below the recommended dietary allowances (RDAs). The average diet included an adequate number of portions from the meat and cereal groups, but was inadequate with respect to the milk and fruit/vegetable groups when compared with the recommendations of the Department of Health Services and Welfare. The macronutrient energy distribution was within prudent dietary guidelines, with 28.1% of energy (E) being obtained from total fat, 63.7% from carbohydrate and 13.2% from protein. Anthropometric profiles expressed in terms of the National Centre for Health Statistics' (NCHS) standards, revealed evidence of growth retardation and wasting in this population, coexisting with emergent obesity. The development of a nutrition and health policy to address the problems of both deficit and excess represents a pressing challenge.
Division of Chronic Diseases of Lifestyle, Centre for Epidemiological Research in Southern Africa, Tygerberg., , , ,