Health SA Gesondheid (Online)
On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848
GROBBELAAR, Hendrina H. and NAPIER, Carin E.. Child and youth care workers: profile, nutrition knowledge and food safety and hygiene practices. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2014, vol.19, n.1, pp.1-7. ISSN 2071-9736. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v19i1.776.
BACKGROUND: Facilities concerned with children 'in need of care' should not only be considered as a last resort for a child's care, but also as an intervention that requires more than addressing a child's basic physical needs. The nutritional needs of children are particularly important to consider as they are a fundamental part of the care provided. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this descriptive quantitative study was to investigate the profile, nutrition knowledge, food safety and hygiene practices of child and youth care workers (CCWs) in residential care settings in order to guide the development of a food preparation and nutrition manual. METHOD: The residential care settings included in this study were three that were selected randomly in Durban. CCWs (N = 40) employed permanently or part-time were included. Convenience purposive sampling of the CCWs was undertaken. A structured self-administered questionnaire, developed and tested for this purpose, was used to gather information on the profile, nutrition knowledge, food safety and hygiene practices. The data were analysed for descriptive statistics (means and frequencies). RESULTS: The majority of CCWs were women aged 18-34 years. Very few had completed a relevant tertiary qualification. The results indicated that the respondents' knowledge was fair on general nutrition guidelines, but there were areas of concern. Specifically, knowledge on recommended fruit and vegetable intake, correct serving sizes and importance of a variety in the diet were lacking. Some knowledge about food safety and hygiene practices was demonstrated, but not in totality. CONCLUSION: The overall findings supported the development of a comprehensive food preparation and nutrition manual for child residential care facilities.