N° 59 | September 2011

« THE SOUTH AFRICA DILEMMA: MALNUTRITION AND OBESITY.
WHAT ABOUT VEGETABLES AND FRUIT? »

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Editorial

South African demographics include a mix of developed and developing communities, each with their own associated health problems and risk profiles. There are areas in which communities will increasingly suffer from noncommunicable diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Against this, the incidence of micro-nutrient malnutrition, stunting and even overt malnutrition will be high.

In the article by Kraemer & Badham, they express a link between nutrition, disease and prosperity. They stress how increasing vegetable and fruit (V&F) consumption is an important long-term goal in preventing the malnutrition cycle. Mchiza’s article, meanwhile, indicates that obesity may be the result of food insecurity. These two articles both link V&F in potentially slowing the vicious cycle of non-communicable diseases and malnutrition.

As explained in Love’s article, South Africans aren’t consuming enough V&F daily. The MRC* shows that the average intake of vegetables and fruit in South Africa is just under three daily servings, considerably less than the WHO’s recommendation of a minimum of five daily servings.

In South Africa, the National Department of Health fully supports the 5-a-day message; one of the food based dietary guidelines is to eat plenty of V&F every day. Love further explains this and how this approach is being integrated into the concept of everyday living. These articles stress the importance of increasing V&F consumption in an attempt to decrease prevalence of micronutrient malnutrition and obesity. The 5-a-Day for Better Health Trust acknowledges the need to promote increased V&F consumption, encourage citizens to grow their own produce, and promote local produce consumption.

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