Sabrina RampiniGrade 12 Biology Research Task Aim:To determine whether the glucose levels of a non-diabetic adolescent female on a healthy diet vary from when eating an unhealthy and non-nutritious diet. Motivation:Adolescents in the modern South African context are challenged by social, economic and cultural variants. All of these have an impact on their dietary habits. As a significant proportion of South Africa’s youth are becoming urbanised, eating habits are undoubtedly changing. A study published in 2017 by the University of Washington revealed that South African women have the highest obesity rates (42%) in sub-Saharan Africa. It was also found that nearly 9% of South African children are obese.
The main cause of the high obesity rates in South Africa are due to increased consumption of fast-food brands. Franchises such as Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Krispy Kreme and Starbucks have made an aggressive entrance into the South African fast-food market, resulting in an exponential growth within fast-food consumption. The consumption of high glycemic index foods, which are often convenient rather than nutritious, may affect postprandial blood glucose levels. Furthermore, a study conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council, which was released in 2014, shows that over 40% of the South African population are nutritionally deficient. This value was expected to increase in the future. With diets that are based mainly on starches such as rice, bread and maize, or diets that exclude mealtimes completely, South Africans are not eating meals with enough nutritional diversity. As hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia, even short episodes, may result in lethargy, irritability and lack of concentration, this may impact adolescents daily activities, including academic performance. This study aims to document whether the blood glucose levels of a non-diabetic adolescent female when on a healthy diet are different to when on an unhealthy, non-nutritional diet.
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If so, these irregular blood glucose levels could be affecting the optimal functioning of the South African youth. Hypothesis:The glucose levels of a non-diabetic adolescent female will be the same when they are on a healthy diet as when they are on an unhealthy diet.