Nutrition knowledge, attitude and practices among urban primary school children in Nairobi City, Kenya: a KAP study
Kigaru, D. M. D.
Macharia-Mutie, C. W.
Ndungu, Z. W.
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Background: Kenya is undergoing rapid urbanization resulting in changing lifestyles. Childhood dietary habits are changing and might result in childhood obesity and related health risks. Dietary habits learnt in early life are likely to be carried to adulthood. Nutrition knowledge and positive attitude are known to influence dietary practices. There is paucity of information on nutrition knowledge, attitude and practices of school-children in cities. This study established nutrition knowledge, attitude and practices among urban school children in Nairobi. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 202 school-children aged 8–11 years, systematically sampled from four randomly selected schools. Structured questionnaire, key informant interviews and focus group discussions were used to collect data. A nutrition knowledge score was determined (correct response: 1, incorrect: 0). Overall knowledge level was the total of correct responses in percentages. Scores of ≤40 %, 41–69 % and ≥70 % were categorized as low, moderate and high knowledge respectively. Dietary practices were determined from frequency of food consumption, habitual patterns and attitude on what they ate. Data were analyzed using SPSS. P-value of p < 0.05 was considered significant. Results: Pupils had moderate nutrition knowledge (mean score 5.16 ± 1.6, 51.6 %). 65 % did not care what they ate. About 82 % ate food in front of TV unsupervised. Over 70 % had consumed sweetened beverages and 73 % junk foods in previous 7 days. Only 9 % consumed fruits 4–7 times a week. Almost all study children carried money to school and made decision on foods to buy. Chips, candies, sausages and smokies, doughnuts and chocolate were preferred snacks. Nutrition knowledge had no significant relationship with dietary practices, but attitude had. Conclusion: Children had moderate nutrition knowledge and poor dietary practices, associated with negative dietary attitude. This study recommends activities to raise awareness on the effect of poor dietary practices on obesity and related health risks.