The reality is that many South Africans do not have access to nutritional food, and many children rely on the School Food Feeding schemes for their daily dietary meals. As teachers and teacher educators, we need to teach our learners the importance of nutrition and empower them to create their own gardens at school and home. Stolz (2021) reported that in South Africa, one in four children under the age of five is stunted; on the other side of the scale, one in eight is overweight. She also reported that severe acute malnutrition is one of the three leading causes of child deaths in South Africa. Data indicates that the number of stunted and overweight children is increasing (Stolz, 2021).
The WHO dietary recommendations include the following:
- achieve energy balance and a healthy weight
- limit energy intake from total fats and shift fat consumption away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids
- increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts
- limit the intake of free sugars
- limit salt (sodium) consumption from all sources and ensure that salt is iodised (WHO, 2022).
It is also important to note that various factors influence the choices of personal diets. These factors include Individual preferences, Cultural preferences, Social, Religious, Economical, Political, and Ecological influences. Climate change is also an influence emerging more prominently in the last few years. The increases in global mean temperature will result in the continued increase in global vegetation loss, decreased food stability, decreased access to food and nutrition and water scarcity that will affect food production (IPCC, 2019).