Load shedding: increasing malnutrition and obesity

South Africa is likely to experience more malnutrition and obesity as the energy crisis affects the quality of food children eat. Doctor The effects will be more visible in about two years, said Edzani Mfafuli, CEO at Grow Great.

The country faces a double-edged sword of stunting on the one hand and obesity on the other. Mfafuli said the poorest children are the most affected. Some areas of the country experience load shedding for longer periods than others. Last year, the University of Johannesburg released a study showing that Inequality and racism in dumping loads Based on regions and towns in Gauteng.

“Children’s nutrition is negatively impacted. Our gains as a nation in ending stunting and managing child nutrition will see a reversal. We will see what an impact it will have over the next couple of years as babies born over the last few weeks and months grow,” Mfafuli said.

She said the constant, and sometimes unpredictable, power outages had reduced the quality of the nutrition provided to the children Early childhood centers, schools and homes. School food suppliers struggle daily to prevent meals from spoiling because refrigerators do not run for hours due to loads being unloaded. Food prices also rose due to the impact of load shedding on the entire agricultural sector.

“This then leads to an increase in the cost of production, which leads to a multiplier effect on food prices and thus an increase in food prices supplied by suppliers to school programmes.”

Fresh food has been sacrificed due to the electricity crisis

According to The Outlier, December 2022 A food basket of basic foodstuffs From six grocery stores costing from R385.87 (the cheapest) to R417.21 (the most expensive).

“Children don’t get as much nutritional value from non-perishable items, fresh food is always best. Load shedding prompts them to default to canned items to combat non-working refrigerators, limited storage spaces, and disruption in their schedules to make cooking time easier.”

Mfafuli said The unpredictable energy source also forced families to make poor food choices because they were more convenient.

People tend to fast food because they don’t have time to prepare meals. This creates a bad culture inside the home, whereby cooking healthy, nutritious meals for children is replaced by buying them carbohydrates and fat-dense items such as burgers and pizza, Maguinia and slapping chips. “

Unfortunately, the poorer the family, the less nutritional value of fast food they consume.

“The danger in increasing reliance on fast food makes it so that even when electricity is available, children prefer the faster and easier option, the less healthy option.”

Nursing mothers cannot store milk.

Maffoli said the energy crisis has made it difficult for breastfeeding mothers to store their milk safely. tAnother way of deburring affects early baby feeding and motherhood.

“When mothers go back to work or have to be separated from their babies for some time, they can no longer pump the milk and then store it in the fridge because it is more likely to stop for hours and spoil the milk.”


Then the mothers are forced to choose A formula that does not come close to the nutritional value or any protective factors that breast milk provides to children. It is also very expensive.

“Sometimes, mothers don’t have the electricity to boil water to make formula. It’s given to the baby diluted, and then the babies don’t grow as well as they should.”

Mfafuli said infants also face poor health habits that can cause illness.

“How do you sterilize your bottles if you use a microwave to sterilize those and you don’t have electricity in your house? How do you boil water to prepare formula if the baby is unfamiliar? “.

This is especially difficult for mothers of very young children.

Mfafuli said the country will likely see children grow up with weakened immunity, constant bouts of diarrhoea, and unable to develop properly. This results in an unchanged child health standard More destruction of the country.

Food storage and quality in schools and in developing countries in early childhood

The Equal Education Law Center (EELC) said the food provided to learners through the National School Nutrition Program (NSNP) is mostly non-perishable items such as lentil soup, legumes, mili soup, canned fish, and packaged soup. The fruits, vegetables and meat were not fresh. Thus, the effect on food quality may not be severely affected.

“In rural areas, food is not stored in refrigerators. We know this because we have been looking at the NSNP,” said Pawnee Twala, a researcher with Section 27, who specializes in the right to health, including food.

Elijah Mhlanga of the Department of Basic Education said the school’s NSNPs do not face significant challenges from load shedding because many of them use gas or firewood to cook.

“In schools where there is not enough storage space, the supplier is required to bring in food in the morning to cook. The initial plan, he said, was not really to deal with load shedding but food management in the school to ensure the food remained safe from food poisoning.” E-Health News