Dietary diversity, dietary iron intake and iron status among pregnant women in Embu county, Kenya
Mwaniki, Nicoleta Muthoni
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Iron deficiency is one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies in the world today The high prevalence of iron deficiency among women during pregnancy in developing countries is of concern and maternal anaemia is still a cause of considerable prenatal morbidity and mortality. The number of anemic women in the world is estimated to be 56 million, majority of them (75-80%) being diagnosed with iron deficiency anaemia. In Kenya iron deficiency for women of reproductive age is 48% while anaemia in pregnancy is 55%. The major causes of iron deficiency mainly include low dietary iron intake, low bioavailability of dietary iron and lack of iron absorption enhancers in the diet. The consequence of iron deficiency among pregnant women is profound and has far reaching effect since they affect not only the health and survival of women but also have long-term irreversible effects on their offspring. Pregnant women are more vulnerable to iron deficiency since they need more iron than usual because their body is manufacturing more blood - blood volume increases by 60% in pregnancy. Iron supplies oxygen and nutrients to the foetus, supports placental function, manufactures red blood cells, and acts as insurance against blood loss during delivery. One of the most important factors responsible for maternal iron deficiency is poor diet lacking in diversity. Dietary diversification is essential for nutrient adequacy as there is no single food that contains all the nutrients required to maintain good health and nutritional status. The purpose of the study is to establish dietary diversity, dietary iron intake and iron status among pregnant women in Embu County. The study will use cross sectional analytical design and will target 88 pregnant women. Sampling will be done by systematic sampling technique. A structured researcher administered questionnaires will be used to collect data on dietary diversity and iron intake and socio- economic characteristics of pregnant women. Weight gained during the pregnancy will be measured to assess nutritional status; iron status will be assessed by measuring serum hemoglobin levels obtained through carrying out a total blood count. The data will be entered and analyzed using SPSS Version 20 software. Pearson correlation and chi -square will be used to determine the relationship between variables. Data will be presented as plus or minus mean standard deviations, frequency and percentages. The statistical significance will be set at a value of 0.05. The information obtained from the study may be useful to agencies working in maternal health and nutrition programs in designing appropriate interventions to improve maternal nutrition and mitigate maternal micronutrients malnutrition.