BACKGROUND : The increasing prevalence of being overweight and obesity in South African
school children requires interventions that are evidence based. Nutrition knowledge, attitudes
and practices (KAP) studies are thus needed to provide evidence for the planning of
interventions that address and prevent nutrition problems in school children.
AIM : The aim of the study on which this article is based was to assess nutrition knowledge,
attitudes and practices of grade 4–6 learners from three primary schools in a South African
township. The article seeks to highlight the key results of this quantitative study.
SETTING : The study took place in three primary schools in Mamelodi township, Pretoria,
METHODS : Data were collected from grade 4–6 learners using self-administered questionnaires.
After coding and collating data using Epi infoTM, STATA was then used for analysis. A
description of KAP results was carried out using simple descriptive statistics, while the
associations were tested using a chi-square test.
RESULTS : Learners displayed inadequate knowledge of a balanced diet (23%) as well as low
knowledge of food groups. With regard to attitudes, the most liked food group was the drinks
and snacks (72.9%), while the least liked food group was the fruits and vegetables (8.11%).
With regard to practices, the most frequently consumed food group was the drinks and snacks
(72.6%), while fruits and vegetables were the least consumed. However, 78.91% of the learners
displayed very good nutrition-related practices, such as making their own breakfast and
CONCLUSION : The inadequate knowledge displayed by learners indicates a gap with nutrition education in the curriculum. There is a need to explore innovative and novel approaches to
improve nutrition knowledge of school children. Parents also need to be targeted to ensure