Age and sex patterns of co-existing under- and overnutrition in children and adolescents in contemporary rural South Africa

Elizabeth W Kimani-Murage, University of the Witwatersrand

We describe age and sex patterns of co-existing undernutrition and overnutirition in children and adolescents 1-20 years living in Agincourt, rural South Africa. The study, conducted in 2007 involved 3512 childen and adolescents. Stunting was high in early childhood, with a peak of 32% at 1y, and during adolesence for boys. Prevalence of underweight was also high in early childhood and in adolescent boys, while wasting was also high in early childhood. Prevalence of combined overweight and obesity, almost non-existent in boys was high among adolescent girls, reaching highest peak of 25% at 18y. The high levels of coexisting undernutrition and overnutirition indicate that Agincourt, representing rural settings in South Africa is in a transitional process, tending more to an urban profile. In the wake of the nutritional transition underway in the developing world and in South Africa in particular, addressing malnutrtion effectively calls for more focused, context-specific, research-informed interventions.

Presented in Poster Session 4: Health and ageing