Nomcebo‬ ‭Fortunate‬‬‬ Tsambokhulu ‭


Consumer and Food Sciences


MConSci (Food Management)

Explication of urban South African adults’ food practices in relation to their food knowledge

The study focused on explicating the food practices and food knowledge component of the food literacy of urban South African adults, and how compliant their food practices are with the Food Based Dietary Guidelines for South Africa. Globally, changes in urban consumers’ food practices indicate an increase in the consumption of convenient, energy-dense foods which has led to an increase in overweight and obesity. Exploring urban South African adults’ food practices will help to identify their usual food choices. Moreover, since food knowledge has been premised to help guide an individual to adopt healthy food practices, the food knowledge of the urban adults was also explored. Since there is limited information available on the food practices and food knowledge of South African urban adults, this study will fill a gap in the literature. To accomplish the set aims and objectives of the study the quantitative approach was followed for this explorative, descriptive, and cross-sectional study. Two sets of electronic survey questionnaires were used to collect data. The first questionnaire consisted of a food literacy scale, including six dimensions: procurement, financial aspects, consumption, nutrition, food safety and the social aspects of food. The second questionnaire gathered information on the food practices of the study group that included their eating patterns, the diversity of food intake, the number of servings consumed, and the frequency of consumption for selected food groups. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyse the data. Descriptive statistics (percentages, means and frequencies), summarised as tables and figures, were used to interpret and present the data. The study group consumed three meals a day with snacking in-between meals. Eating away from home was done 1-2 times a month at a restaurant, and others enjoyed some meals at their workplace. The study group consumed a diversified diet and attained a Dietary Diversity Score of 6.02 out of nine food groups. Foods such as fast foods, some selected snacks and beverages were seldom or never consumed. The respondents were knowledgeable about all six dimensions of food literacy, and they possessed good declarative and procedural food knowledge since an overall mean score of 80 out of 107 scale items was attained. It was further explained that the food knowledge of the study group contributes positively to their food practices. The study group was knowledgeable of food knowledge scale items measuring aspects relating to their food choice and intake. Most of the food consumption practices of the study group complied with the Food Based Dietary Guidelines for South Africa. An exception was noted for food groups such as starchy food, legumes and nuts, and fruits and vegetables, since only one to two servings of these were consumed a day. The results can be useful to consumer and nutrition facilitators and educators as it can be used to plan and implement food knowledge educational intervention strategies that will help to motivate consumers to make healthy food choices and adhere to good food practices.


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  • Primary supervisor: Dr Annemarie Viljoen
  • Co-supervisor: Dr Hennie Fisher

Research Profiles



  • Tsambokhulu, N F., AT, Viljoen., H, Fisher (2018). Explication of urban adults’ food practices in relation to their food knowledge. 13th international South African Association of Family Ecology and Consumer Science Conference. Pretoria, SA, 5-9 March.
Published by Gertruida Erasmus

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