Evaluation of usual dietary intake of women working on farms in The Koue Bokkeveld District and the potential benefits of maize and wheat fortification

A Grobbelaar, M le Roux, C Lindenberg, Debbi Marais, NP Steyn

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A large proportion of the South African population consumes a diet which is poor in nutrient density,specifically vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, vitamin B6, iron, zinc and calcium. TheNational Food Consumption Survey (2000) recommended that the fortification of maize (sifted,special and super), white and brown wheat flour and white retail sugar should be mandatory in orderto address this problem. The national mandatory fortification programme started in October 2003.The aim of the present study was to determine the usual food and micronutrient intakes of femalefarm workers and to compare these micronutrient intakes with the theoretical recommended intakesas if ‘fortified foods’ had been consumed. The study sample comprised 76 women aged 18-50 years,employed as farm workers, in the Koue Bokkeveld district. Each participant was interviewed using asocio-economic and a food frequency questionnaire. Usual dietary intake was calculated usingFoodFinder II. The usual diet of each participant was subsequently compared with the idealtheoretical ‘fortified intake’ in order to evaluate the quantitative micronutrient improvement. Allmicronutrients, with the exception of vitamin folic acid and calcium exceeded 100% of the dietaryreference intakes in the diet of the participants. In the case of folic acid the 25th percentile (Q1) wasless than 100% of the estimated average requirement (EAR) and that of calcium, below 67% of theEAR. By ‘fortifying’ the maize and wheat products according to recommended levels, the Q1 ofconsumers remained below the EAR value. In conclusion, it appears that mandatory fortification ofmaize and wheat at recommended levels will not necessarily meet all the micronutrient requirementsof groups who do not consume large quantities of maize or wheat products.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-17
Number of pages6
JournalSouthern African Journal of Epidemiology & Infection
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • fortification


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