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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848

Health SA Gesondheid (Online) vol.15 n.1 Cape Town  2010




The link between poverty and malnutrition: A South African perspective



Hester (Esté) H. Vorster

Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, South Africa





In this article, a brief review of the nutritional problems in South Africa, as well as the intergenerational, vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition, are used to argue for the necessity of including a nutrition intervention component in poverty-alleviation programmes. It is concluded that this cycle can be broken by improving the nutritional status of women in their productive years, whereby foetal malnutrition, arrested mental development and physical stunting in children, adolescents and adults can be prevented. The result will be an improvement in human capital, health and productivity with the ultimate aim of escaping poverty as suggested by the seven principles of Solomons (2005).

Keywords: double burden of nutrition-related disease; foetal programming; poverty; human capital; obesity; overweight; over-nutrition; stunting; under-nutrition


In hierdie artikel word 'n kort oorsig van die voedingsprobleme in Suid-Afrika sowel as die noodlottige siklus van wanvoeding en armoede wat oor generasies strek, gebruik om aan te voer dat dit noodsaaklik is om 'n voedingsintervensie-komponent in programme gemik op die verligting van armoede in te sluit. Daar word tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die siklus gebreek kan word as die voedingstatus van vroue in hulle voortplantingsjare verbeter word. Hierdie verbetering sal fetale wanvoeding, sowel as belemmerde groei en kognitiewe ontwikkeling van kinders, adolessente en volwassenes voorkom. Die gevolg sal 'n verbetering van menskapitaal, verbeterde gesondheid en verhoogde produktiwiteit wees, met die uiteindelike doel om armoede te ontsnap soos voorgestel deur die sewe beginsels van Solomons (2005).



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Esté Vorster
North-West University
Private Bag X6001
Potchefstroom 2520
South Africa

Received: 22 May 2009
Accepted: 10 Feb. 2010
Published: 18 Aug. 2010

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