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Food insecurity, diet quality and body composition: Data from the Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative (HeLTI) pilot survey in urban Soweto, South Africa

Kehoe, S.H.
Wrottesley, S.V.
Ware, L.
Prioreschi, A.
Draper, C.
Ward, K.
Lye, S.
Norris, S.A.
Objective: To determine whether food security, diet diversity and diet quality are associated with anthropometric measurements and body composition among women of reproductive age. The association between food security and anaemia prevalence was also tested. Design: Secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from the Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative (HeLTI) study. Food security and dietary data were collected by an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Hb levels were measured using a HemoCue, and anaemia was classified as an altitude-adjusted haemoglobin level < 12·5 g/dl. Body size and composition were assessed using anthropometry and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Setting: The urban township of Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. Participants: Non-pregnant women aged 18-25 years (n 1534). Results: Almost half of the women were overweight or obese (44 %), and 9 % were underweight. Almost a third of women were anaemic (30 %). The prevalence rates of anaemia and food insecurity were similar across BMI categories. Food insecure women had the least diverse diets, and food security was negatively associated with diet quality (food security category v. diet quality score: B = -0·35, 95 % CI -0·70, -0·01, P = 0·049). Significant univariate associations were observed between food security and total lean mass. However, there were no associations between food security and body size or composition variables in multivariate models. Conclusions: Our data indicate that food security is an important determinant of diet quality in this urban-poor, highly transitioned setting. Interventions to improve maternal and child nutrition should recognise both food security and the food environment as critical elements within their developmental phases.
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Cambridge University Press
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Body composition,Body size,Diet diversity,Diet quality,Food security
Kehoe SH, Wrottesley SV, Ware L, Prioreschi A, Draper C, Ward K, Lye S, Norris SA. Food insecurity, diet quality and body composition: data from the Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative (HeLTI) pilot survey in urban Soweto, South Africa. Public Health Nutr. 2021 May;24(7):1629-1637. doi: 10.1017/S136898002100046X. Epub 2021 Feb 26.
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