It is generally acknowledged that stunting is the best indicator of a child’s well-being and that a child’s linear growth potential is largely determined by the time they turn 2 years old. Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, also have a high prevalence of overweight and obesity in children, amounting to a double burden of malnutrition. Stunting is associated with many disorders including reduced neurodevelopment, lifelong cognitive deficits, educational and employment challenges, increased risk of obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in adulthood, and cycles of intergenerational poverty.
In an attempt to address the burden of malnutrition in the Western Cape, the Western Cape Department of Health (WCDoH) and DG Murray Trust (DGMT) in collaboration with investigators from the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Stellenbosch University (SU), conducted a survey to compile a comprehensive anthropometric malnutrition profile (stunting, underweight, thinness, overweight and obesity) in a representative sample of infants and children under 5 years of age in the province. The secondary aims were to investigate potential causes of malnutrition in the Western Cape, including direct causes (dietary intake and disease) and underlying causes (food security, caring capacity of caregivers and environmental hygiene), as well as to assess indicators of early childhood development (ECD).
Read the Executive Summary of the Western Cape Stunting Baseline Survey by clicking on the image below: