Consumption of sweetened beverages among schoolgoing children in a densely populated township in Lilongwe, Malawi|
Kalimbira, A. & Gondwe, E.
The growing global childhood obesity pandemic has not spared lowincome
countries like Malawi, where 8% of children below the age of
five years are overweight. Globally, regular consumption of sweetened
beverages is implicated among the factors that fuel childhood obesity.
Despite the growing problem, there are no local studies on any aspect of
sweetened beverage consumption among children in Malawi that could
help in guiding interventions and public health nutrition policies.
We aimed to assess sweetened beverage consumption among school-going
children in Chilinde, a densely populated township in Lilongwe, the capital
city of Malawi.
A total of 60 school-going children whose caregivers gave verbal consent
were included, and a structured questionnaire was administered to the
caregiver (or other knowledgeable and responsible member of the
household) of each eligible child.
Our results showed that 50 of the 60 children sampled were consuming
a wide-range of sweetened beverages on a regular basis on any day of
the week, mostly during meal times (n = 23), before going to school (n =
22), and after school (n = 19). One-third of the children were reportedly
consuming up to 300 mL of several sweetened beverages per day.
Like in many countries around the world, consumption of sweetened
beverages appears to be common among young school-going children in
this urban setting in Malawi. As the country builds public health responses
to the growing problem of non-communicable diseases, early preventive
interventions among children should be given priority.