Barriers to child nutrition security in food secure households : a study of Mjini village in Bungoma, Kenya
Background: Food security is a key determinant of nutritional security. However, studies indicate that there are households that are food secure but still experience malnutrition, especially in children aged under five years of age. Objective: The study was undertaken to establish barriers to child nutrition security in food secure households. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Mjini village in Bungoma. A representative sample of some one hundred and seventy (170) food secure households with children aged 6-59 months was selected using multi stage sampling. Data was collected using an interview schedule, anthropometry, observation checklist and focus group discussions (FGD). Bivariate analysis using Pearson's chi-square and binary logistic regression analysis was used in data analysis. Results. The following were found to threaten children's nutritional security in food secure households. Lack of knowledge on frequency of feeding (60% vs. 38%, p=0.016, OR=2.5), and on the 3 major foods groups (52% vs.25.6%, p=0.006, OR=3.13), inadequate breastfeeding (48% vs. 13%, p=0.008, OR=6.2), untimely weaning (74% vs. 44%, p=0.001, OR=3.6), feeding child <3 times (59% vs.35%, p=0.009, OR=2.2), lack of stimulation when feeding child (47% vs. 18%, p=0.001, OR=4), lack of deworming (90% vs. 75%, p=0.004, OR=2.9), poor environmental sanitation (79% vs. 44%, p=0.001, OR=4.9), storing cooked food uncovered (74% vs. 18%, p=0.001, OR=6.8), feeding child with dirty hands (59% vs. 18%, p=0.001, OR=6.4) and diarrhoeal morbidity. Conclusion: Food availability alone is insufficient to assure nutrition security. It may have a limited effect on the nutritional well being of infants and children. Proper and sustained education of caregivers on care practices through multifaceted educational programmes dealing with behaviour/ attitude change and an evaluation and redesign of nutrition education are recommended.