To measure dietary intakes of young children aged 12–24 months and to determine the impact of poor diets on stunting.
A quantitative food-frequency questionnaire was adapted, tested and standardised. Trained enumerators conducted in-depth interviews with the mothers/caregivers of the children. Forty stunted children in urban informal settlements and 30 stunted children in rural areas were selected and pair-matched with controls. The data were captured on the Food Finder Program of the Medical Research Council.
In both urban and rural areas, the diet of stunted and non-stunted groups did differ significantly and all diets were of poor nutritional quality.
Diets in both areas resembled the recommended prudent diet, i.e. low in fat and high in carbohydrates. Poor quality diets were not the primary cause of stunting.
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