Household food security and nutrition status of under fives in Kieni West divition, Nyeri district
Mwema, M. Josephine
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Malnutrition has remained one of the major causes of high mortality rates among children under five years of age. Kieni West Division has continued to show pockets of malnutrition. The main objective of the study was to assess the household food security and nutritional status of under five children in Kieni West Division, Nyeri District so as to determine the risk of vulnerability of the households to food insecurity as well as malnutrition. A cross-sectional descriptive survey design was used. Random sampling methods were used to select the target group of 150 households. Household data were collected by use of interview schedules which were read out to the respondent directly and answers filled in by the interviewer also for the focus group discussions. Anthropometric parameters weight and height were collected using UNICEF's tools; electronic weighing scale, weighing pants, hanging scale and length/height boards. Nutrient adequacy was determined by use of 24hr recall. To determine the quantities calibrated jugs were used and respondents were asked to estimate the quantity of food the child had consumed the previous day. This data was compared with CTA-ECSA food composition tables and recommended daily allowance developed by WHO. Data collected were summarized and analysed by the use of Statistical Package for Social Sciences programme. Pearson and Spearman test at 0.05 significant level were used to establish the relationship. Anthropometric data were analysed using EPI-INFO 2000 computer package. The findings of the study showed that 24.0% of the preschool children were stunted, 12.0% were wasted and 24.7% were underweight. Incidences of illnesses were high with 60.7% of the children in the study being reported to have had been ill in the past two weeks prior to the study. The major constraint to food production was found to be erratic rains in the area while 72.7% of the respondents resulted to sale of labour as a coping strategy during times of food scarcity. At the time of the study, households were found to be in a state of food insecurity with 55% of the respondents reported not having any food in store. Maize formed the major component of the main meals. Meals were not widely diversified; vegetables, fruits and meat were rarely consumed. Some of the variables that were subjected to Spearmans Rho test and showed significant correlation included; household size was correlated with nutrition status (t=-0.158 p=0.027), land size and incomes obtained from farm produce (r=0.291 p=0.001), land size and sale of labour (r = -0.181 p = 0.026), household food security and nutritional status (r = - 0.210 p = 0.010), stored food and household monthly income (r = -0.203 p = 0.016), breastfeeding duration and nutrition status (r = 0.271 p = 0.001). Variables that were subjected to Pearson Moment Correlation included; energy intake and underweight and wasting, (t= -0.366, p=0.000 and r-0.466, p=0.000 respectively), Vitamin A with under weight and wasting (r= 0.230 p= 0.005 and r=0.233 p= 0.004 respectively), Iron showed positive significant relationship with wasting (r=0.183 p= 0.025) and nutrition status with morbidity (r= -0.167 p= 0.041). The results of the study showed that the nutritional status of under-fives was poor and households were food insecure. The study recommends that since the main livelihood in the area is farming, there is need to diversify the sources of income, enhance the farming practices as well as need to promote growth and consumption of fruits and vegetables.