Development and evaluation of a nutrient enriched relish for use among boarding school students
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Vitamin A and iron are micronutrients of public health importance in Uganda, while calcium is a key micronutrient required in the growth phase of humans. The overall purpose of this study was to explore whether a nutrient rich relish would increase both food and micronutrient intake as well as be readily acceptable by secondary boarding school students. The study used both qualitative and quantitative methods to collect the data. A survey was conducted in three boarding secondary schools to assess students’ nutritional Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAPs). A nutrient rich relish was formulated using RSM and developed based on students’ tastes and preferences. Proximate and micronutrient composition as well as sensory acceptability of the relish were determined. The survey results revealed that majority of the students (81.2%) positively described a balanced diet while 52.1% and 38.8% positively identified carbohydrates and protein rich foods, respectively. Generally, students had a positive attitude towards school food, as 68% liked school food and 32% expressed its dislike. Majority of the students (79.8%) skipped school meals, with lunch being the most skipped (43%). Most students (83.5%) added relishes to food in order to improve the taste. The developed relish contained 94.4% ± 0.3 dry matter, 22.2% ± 0.5 carbohydrates, 24.5% ± 0.6 protein, 37.4% ± 0.9 lipids, 9.7% ± 0.2 crude fiber, 6.4% ± 0.2 ash and 533.5kcal/100g energy. The micronutrient contents of the relish were 639µg/100g ± 1.3 RAE vitamin A, 3,135mg/100g ± 191 calcium and 20mg/100g ± 3.4 iron. Regarding sensory acceptability, the relish scored 5.3 ± 1.7 colour, 4.5 ± 2.1 taste, 4.7 ± 1.9 aroma, 4.5 ± 1.9 mouth feel and 4.8 ± 2.0 overall acceptability on a 7-point hedonic scale. Use of the relish increased student food intake up to 16% for food with beans. Furthermore, contribution to adolescent RDA was over 100% for vitamin A, calcium and iron. Both these findings are in agreement with the hypothesis as stated prior to the study.