Journal of Food and Nutrition Research
ISSN (Print): 2333-1119 ISSN (Online): 2333-1240 Website: Editor-in-chief: Prabhat Kumar Mandal
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Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2016, 4(6), 369-376
DOI: 10.12691/jfnr-4-6-5
Open AccessArticle

Caregivers’ Interpretation of the Growth Chart and Feeding Practices of Children under Five Years: A Case of Greater Tzaneen Municipality, South Africa

Sibanda Martha Nyavani1, 2, Mbhenyane Xikombiso Gertrude1, 3, and Mushaphi Lindelani Fhumudzani1

1Department of Nutrition, University of Venda, P/Bag x5050, Thohoyandou, South Africa

2Department of Health, Limpopo Province, Tzaneen, South Africa

3Division of Nutrition, University of Stellenbosch, PO Box 241, Cape Town, South Africa

Pub. Date: July 07, 2016

Cite this paper:
Sibanda Martha Nyavani, Mbhenyane Xikombiso Gertrude and Mushaphi Lindelani Fhumudzani. Caregivers’ Interpretation of the Growth Chart and Feeding Practices of Children under Five Years: A Case of Greater Tzaneen Municipality, South Africa. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2016; 4(6):369-376. doi: 10.12691/jfnr-4-6-5


The main purpose of this study was to investigate the interpretation of the growth chart and feeding practices of caregivers of children under five yearsfrom Greater Tzaneen Municipality, South Africa. The study design was descriptive, exploratory, and quantitative with qualitative aspects. A sample of 120 caregivers with their 120 children under the age of five years was selected from six clinics in the Municipality using the multi-stage sampling method, and 30 professional nurses were conveniently selected from the same clinics. Data was collected using two questionnaires for caregivers and another for nurses. The constructs measured included demographic data, availability of the chart, the knowledge and infant feeding practices of the caregivers, anthropometric nutritional status and the caregivers’ interpretation of the chart. The birth weight and length of the children were recorded from the growth chart and the current weight and length/height were also measured. Most children were taken care of by their biological mothers who also provided finances for their food. Half of the nursing staff said all categories of nurses performed growth monitoring and health promotion, and educated caregivers about the feeding of children. Contrary to what the nurses reported, only 13% of the caregivers were taught about feeding two- to five-year-old children. About 71.7% were taught about feeding children of three to 24 months, while only 23.3% were taught about exclusive breastfeeding. More than half of the caregivers were taught about the importance of the growth chart, but only a minority were taught about feeding interventions to implement when the growth curve took a normal or abnormal direction. The caregivers did not know about the frequency of growth monitoring beyond the first year of a child’s life. In conclusion, the caregivers had growth charts for their children and knew their importance, but did not know how to interpret the growth curve and how to nutritionally intervene based on the curve direction. and the cut-off age for growth monitoring.

interpretation of growth growth chart growth monitoring feeding practices caregiver

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