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Food habits and beliefs about Moringa oleifera among South African student mothers: a qualitative study

Abstract : The problems of malnutrition constitute a major challenge in South Africa, particularly affecting the underprivileged populations of the Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces. The present study aimed to gain an understanding of how to improve the nutritional intake of South African university student mothers and their children by the introduction of Moringa oleifera in their food. Focus Group Discussion was implemented at two previously historically disadvantaged universities with predominantly black student populations, namely the University of Fort Hare and the University of Limpopo. Findings from the participants’ discussion about food habits and barriers to healthy eating show that there is a gap between healthy eating knowledge and eating habits. Despite the high level of awareness of the importance of nutritional intake, most of the study participants and their children consume less healthy foods. Due to the high cost of healthy food and their limited income, student mothers face substantial financial constraints when trying to make healthy changes in their food habits. Moreover, student mothers’ positive beliefs about the nutritional benefits of Moringa are insufficient to encourage its consumption. Finally, student mothers agree about using Moringa as a nutritional supplement. Maize porridge ( pap ) appears to be the preferred staple food for Moringa supplementation because of its palatability, satiating power, availability, affordability, and ease of preparation.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 7, 2022 - 11:12:12 AM
Last modification on : Monday, November 21, 2022 - 3:53:08 AM


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Amel Hedhili, Babatope Ebenezer Akinyemi, Gloria Aderonke Otunola, Florence Husson, Dominique Valentin. Food habits and beliefs about Moringa oleifera among South African student mothers: a qualitative study. Cahiers Agricultures, 2022, 31, pp.22. ⟨10.1051/cagri/2022020⟩. ⟨hal-03786130⟩



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