Contribution of Amaranth Grain (A. Cruentus) on dietary intake and Nutritional Status of Adults Living with HIV in Mweiga, Nyeri, Kenya
Ndungu, Zipporah W.
Kuria, E. N.
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Globally, there is high prevalence of macro and micronutrient deficiency among people living with HIV (PLHIV) which can jeopardize the quality of life. Under nutrition is a major cause of death among PLHIV. Use of nutrient dense foods can be one of the interventions to deal with this challenge. Amaranth grain has high kilocalories, high biological value proteins, better amino acid and micronutrient profile than nearly all cereals. However, it is not commonly used as part of diet especially among adults. The main objective of this study was to determine the contribution of amaranth grain consumption on the dietary intake among PLHIV for improved nutritional status. Experimental design was used to conduct an intervention study which involved daily consumption of amaranth grain porridge for six months. A comprehensive sample of 66 Adults living with HIV attending Mweiga homebased care group and not on antiretroviral therapy was used. Results showed increase in mean energy consumption by 13.1% and 16.7% for males and females respectively after inclusion of amaranth grain in the diet. The proportion of respondents consuming adequate protein increased from 19.4% to 96.8% for males and from 22.9% to 97.1% for females. The proportion of the respondents who met the RDAs for zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium increased from below 40% to over 77%. Mean weight gain during intervention was 3.35 ± 0.5 kg. Proportion of respondents who were underweight reduced from 71.2% at baseline to 7.6% at month six. Consumption of amaranth grain was positively associated with improved dietary intake among PLHIV. The porridge enabled respondents to meet the RDAs for energy, protein and micronutrients. This lead to the observed weight gain. This study recommends adoption of amaranth grain by PLHIV for improved nutritional status