Nutritional status, dietary intake and dietary diversity of landfill waste pickers
Swart, Elizabeth C
van der Merwe, Maria
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The purpose of this study was to investigate and describe the nutritional status, dietary intake and dietary diversity of waste pickers in South Africa, a socioeconomically vulnerable group who makes a significant contribution to planetary health through salvaging recyclable material from dumpsites. Participants were weighed and measured to calculate body mass index (BMI). Dietary intake was recorded using a standardised multipass 24 h recall. Individual dietary diversity scores were derived from the dietary recall data. Data were collected from nine purposefully selected landfill sites located in six rural towns and three cities in four of the nine provinces in South Africa, providing nutritional status information on 386 participants and dietary intake on 358 participants after data cleaning and coding. The mean BMI of the study sample was 23.22 kg/m2. Underweight was more prevalent among males (22.52%) whilst 56.1% of the females were overweight or obese. The average individual dietary diversity score was 2.46, with 50% scoring 2 or less. Dietary intake patterns were characterised as monotonous, starch-based and lacking vegetables and fruits. The nutritional status, dietary intake and dietary diversity of waste pickers reflect their precarious economic status, highlighting the need for health, social and economic policies to improve access and affordability of nutritious food.