The purpose of this study was to investigate teachers perceptions of the food consumption practices and nutrition-related needs in a resource-constrained community, in terms of food choice, food production and food preparation. The study forms part of a broader research project, which aims to facilitate health and well-being in resource-constrained communities, in support of reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Interpretivism was utilised as meta-theoretical lens and a qualitative approach was followed. The Food Decision-making Framework (FDF) and Bioecological Theory of Human Development constitute the conceptual framework. A Participatory Reflection and Action (PRA) research design was utilised to generate data with 45 purposefully selected Intermediate Phase (Grades 4 to 6) teachers from three primary schools in the Bronkhorstspruit area. Data were generated and documented through PRA-based workshops, observation, visual techniques, field notes and a reflective journal.
Following inductive thematic analysis, four themes and related sub-themes emerged. The first theme relates to the eating behaviour of the community, reflecting food consumed during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Secondly, consumer behaviour was identified as a theme, indicating that community members primarily obtain food from the school feeding scheme and donations, local shops and vendors, the local dumping site, and community-based food gardens. The third theme highlights knowledge and skills required by community members, as perceived by the teachers. Finally, the fourth theme indicates information that could be included in the current Intermediate Phase school curriculum.
Based on the findings it can be concluded that this community s food consumption patterns are primarily affected by factors in the macrosystem, namely poverty, unemployment and westernisation. Teachers were of the view that parents may benefit from information sessions/workshops, as this could facilitate change on the micro-level, macro-level and exosystems. Changed food consumption practices within the community may, in turn, effect change in the macrosystem by informing related future interventions.