Nutrition in Early Childhood Development
Food Security in South Africa

© Eric Muller
A child tucks into a meal of bread and sugar water, donated by a local soup kitchen.
It is important for children to get the right nutrients while in the womb and into early childhood in order for them to grow into healthy, well-developed adults. Poor nutrition and exposure to toxins, such as alcohol, have effects on the way a child’s brain and body develops, which may well affect them much later in their lives.

SouthAfrica.co.za explores the vulnerability of children and the effects of child malnourishment.

Brain Formation of a Foetus

The brain’s slow passage into consciousness starts just days after conception: the newly fertilised egg travels down the woman’s Fallopian tube; while it is heading for the uterus, it is already a ballooning cluster of dividing cells....more

Exposed to Alcohol in the Womb

Every child born into the kind of poverty seen in Malaykamp in the Northern Cape – not just economic poverty, but a paucity of knowledge and nutritional literacy and nutrition itself - which leaves children...more

Hidden Hunger

If it is true that an army marches on its belly, how much more so does an entire nation’s economic survival depend on the country’s children reaching the age of those found at the Malay Camp Children Ministries in De Aar....more

Malnourishment Before Age Two

‘By the time children reach their second birthday,’ says The Lancet in a 2008 series reporting on maternal and child undernutrition, ‘if undernourished, they could suffer irreversible physical and cognitive damage.’...more

Malnutrition in Pregnancy

In many of the Northern Cape communities where research was conducted, mothers weighed 40–45 kilograms throughout pregnancy. Someone weighing this little is going to be missing many of the critical elements needed for healthy foetal development....more

Real Life Story: Children of Malaykamp

If a child does not get the right nutrition in those critical formative months between conception and the age of two, he or she could end up with a brain that is permanently underdeveloped....more

Should HIV-positive Mothers Breastfeed?

In the early days of the HIV pandemic, breastfeeding became taboo due to the risk of the child becoming infected with the virus through the mother’s milk. In South Africa, the Department of Health’s policy was to counsel HIV mothers not to breastfeed...more

Today's Children, Tomorrow's Economy

And so it is no stretch to say that the future well-being of our economies rests on the macronutrients and micronutrients that we feed our children – because these children’s brains will be the working muscles of tomorrow’s economy....more

Why Children are Vulnerable to Unhealthy Eating

Why is it that our children are so vulnerable to the seductive lure of fast foods and the advertising advances of the multinationals that are increasingly turning their attention to the African continent as a new market in which to peddle their wares?...more