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South African Journal of Child Health

On-line version ISSN 1999-7671
Print version ISSN 1994-3032


BESSELINK, D; BRANDT, H; KLINGBERG, S  and  DRAPER, C E. Perceptions of healthy food, and perceived facilitators and barriers to buying and consuming healthy food, among female caregivers in Soweto, South Africa. S. Afr. j. child health [online]. 2022, vol.16, n.3, pp.172-177. ISSN 1999-7671.

BACKGROUND. Obesity poses a continuous health challenge in South Africa and disproportionately affects black African households. To target obesity in these settings, it is crucial to have an in-depth understanding of food choices made by affected households. OBJECTIVES. To explore how healthy food is perceived by women living in Soweto, and the facilitators of and barriers to buying and consuming this food. METHODS. This was a qualitative study that utilised semi-structured interviews. Ten participants were recruited using purposive sampling. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. The study took place in Soweto, South Africa, and was conducted from February to May 2019. RESULTS. Six themes were developed from the data: perceptions of healthy food; protecting family members from unhealthy food; learning about healthy food; appreciation by the family; home-cooked food v. food bought on the street; and budgetary restrictions. The first three themes were grouped by the overarching theme 'consciousness of healthfulness of food', and the last three themes were grouped by the theme 'influences of the family and environment on food choices'. CONCLUSIONS. A focus on the whole family's dietary behaviours is recommended and, in future interventions, guidance communicated in intervention materials should be tailored to existing knowledge of healthy eating.

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