Child malnutrition in poor smallholder households in rural Kenya: an in-depth situation analysis.Eur J Clin Nutr 1995; 49(9):691-702EJ
To investigate the effect of seasonal changes on household food availability on the nutritional status of preschool children from rural households.
Households with preschool children were randomly selected from a sampling frame developed from a census list. Data were collected each month or at intervals for 14 months using pre-coded questionnaires.
The study was carried out in Njoro division, Nakuru district, Kenya.
Subjects comprised 41 preschool children (22 girls and 19 boys) aged between 18 and 36 months. Households with preschool children were listed from a census conducted earlier. A random sample of 45 subjects was selected, out of which 41 completed the study.
Food consumption data were collected monthly using the 24-h recall method, and by the 3-day weighed record method during the peak of each season. Subjects were measured once each month, while length was measured at three intervals over the study period.
Significant differences in intake of calcium, vitamin A, thiamin and riboflavin were observed between the lean and the post-harvest months, but not with energy, protein, fat, iron, niacin and vitamin C. There were no significant seasonal differences in mean weight changes, which were at the rate of 182 g/month. Mean length increased at a faster rate during the lean season compared to the postharvest months. 51% of the children were stunted during the lean season compared to 28% in the post-harvest months.
The results indicate a seasonal influence on energy and nutrient intake among preschoolers from low income rural households in Kenya.