Mauritius: The Mauritius Nutrition Survey 2022 Report was launched today, by the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, at the Caudan Arts Centre in Port Louis.
Speaking at the event, Minister Jagutpal pointed out that the findings of the National Nutrition Survey 2022 provided a clearer understanding of the Mauritian population’s typical dietary practices, food choices and eating habits and their impacts on the nutritional and health status.
“However, certain trends have been observed regarding underweight, overweight, obesity, and micronutrient deficiencies such as Iron and Vitamin D deficiencies that are present in sub-groups of the survey population,” he mentioned.
The Health Minister enumerated the key recommendations of the 2022 Survey. They are, amongst others, to update and formulate the National Plan of Action for Nutrition 2023-2028; to conduct awareness campaigns so that the population increase vegetables and fruit consumption, and to maximise the use of digital technologies to motivate behavioural change.
“A Technical Working Group, comprising technical officers specialised in nutrition and food safety, and members from other Ministries, Academia and Non-Governmental Organisations have been set up to formulate the National Plan of Action,” he added.
Also present, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Mauritius, Dr Anne Marie Ancia, spoke of the WHO health service delivery framework for preventing and managing obesity.
The framework aims at promoting expanded access to obesity prevention and management services for all age groups. Dr Ancia called upon multisectoral efforts to influence healthy diet and exercise behaviours.
Mauritius Nutrition Survey 2022 Report Findings
The Nutrition Survey 2022 was conducted between 23 July to 10 August 2022 and targeted around 2,400 individuals aged between five and 74 years. They were categorised into four age groups: Children, Adolescents, Young adults and Older adults.
Estimate Average Daily Food Consumption
Concerning the Estimate Average Daily Food Consumption, it was found that plain cooked rice was consumed by 97.1 % of respondents and white bread was consumed by 93.1 % of participants.
The average daily per capita of energy was found to be 3,092 kilocalories. The mean per capita of vegetables and fruits was 198.2 grams and meets only 50 percent of the WHO recommendation of 400 grams daily for adolescents and adults
Among children, 14.6 % were overweight, and the same percentage was noted for underweight, while 13.8 % were obese. As for adolescents, 16.7 % were underweight, 14.2 % were overweight, and 9 % were obese.
Regarding young adults aged 20 to 49, 5.4 % were underweight, 35.5 % were overweight, and 31.2 % were obese. Among older adults aged 50 to 74, 4.6 % were underweight, 40.3 % were overweight, and 28.6 % were obese.
63.9 % of men and 64.5 % of women aged 20 to 49 years were found to have body fat mass above normal.
As for Women of Reproductive Age, that is between 15 to 49 years, 7.4% of women had low Body Mass Index; and 80.7% were consuming an adequate diet with a minimum dietary diversity as recommended by the WHO.
The prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia was found to be higher amongst females than in males across all age groups.
The highest prevalence was among women aged 20-49 years at 38.4% and girls aged 12-19 years at 37.1%.
11.7 % of participants had a low level of serum folate, 8 % had a low level of serum Vitamin B12, and 86.5 % had a low level of Serum Vitamin D.
The percentage of respondents who met the WHO standard for Physical Activity are as follows: 42.4 % among children aged five to 11 years old, 25.2 % among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years old, 35.8 % among young adults and 42.3 % among older adults.
Influence of COVID-19 on Diet and eating habits
A total of 38.4% of participants reported changes in dietary habits due to COVID-19 compared with earlier dietary habits.