Assessment of the Dietary Intake of Schoolchildren in South Africa: 15 Years after the First National Study

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