Assessment of Nutrition Status and Dietary Diversity among Children 6-59 Months in Mathare Valley, Nairobi County, Kenya
Mutakaa, Lisbeth Kageni
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Under nutrition is the underlying cause of more than half of all deaths in children aged less than five years worldwide. There are 143 million children under five who are underweight in the developing world. In Kenya, severe acute malnutrition is responsible for 82,000 deaths annually with a significant percentage being from urban slums. The purpose of this study was to assess nutritional status children aged 6-59 months in Mathare valley, a low income settlement in Nairobi. A cross-sectional study design was used. Data was collected using structured and non structured questionnaires. A total of 246 children aged 6-59 months were taken the anthropometric measurements to determine their nutritional status and their caregivers interviewed. Two focus group discussions and 6 Key informant interviews were conducted. The dependent variable was nutritional status of children below five years and independent variables included socioeconomic attributes, dietary intake, and dietary diversity. Descriptive analysis was done using IBM SPSS software version 19 and anthropometry analysis by ENA for SMART. Severe malnutrition measured by MUAC was observed in 6.5% of the children. Severe stunting, wasting and underweight measured using HAZ, WHZ and WAZ.was observed in 5.7%, 4.1% and 4.5% respectively. Among the 246 children, 39.0 had fallen ill within the previous two weeks and several had fallen ill more than once within the same period. The major symptoms included diarrhea, cough and vomiting by 50%, 47.9% and 40.6% respectively. Dietary score for 104(42.1%) households was low. There is need to regularly monitor nutrition status of children below five years and to have up to date data for informed decision making.