Research has shown that a combination of interventions is essential to address national nutritional deficiencies. Targeted approaches ought to be aimed at behavioral change and micronutrient interventions, amongst other through nutrition support and counseling to offer guidelines on various aspects. Priority groups include infants and young children, and disadvantaged communities.
DUT’s Department of Food & Nutrition Consumer Science students are already involved in a number of successful interventions. Ongoing research topics include general nutritional factors, nutrition amongst children, infants and mothers, and development of dietary guidelines. However, to address prevalence of malnutrition in KwaZulu-Natal, more targeted sustainable interventions are essential, hence conceptualization of the ‘Sustainable Food and Nutrition’ research focus. This is a first for the province, aimed to evaluate cross-sectional effects of malnutrition, and addressing both under-nutrition as well as over-nutrition. The purpose is to expand facilities, adding an equipped laboratory for food development research and affiliated tests, able to accommodate a number of student projects. Additionally, staff will be able to obtain higher qualifications and build expertise in the discipline to benefit the university and the broader KZN community.
Anticipated outcomes of this project include additional student intake, increased research papers, and a number of Post-Doctoral fellowships. Under supervision of Professor Carin Napier, this project is anticipated to augment knowledge creation capacity. Involvement from local communities and NGO’s in the province will ensure relevant information is gathered and cost effective interventions are implemented.