Nutritional status of children under five years and associated factors in Mbeere South District, Kenya

Nutritional status of children under five years and associated factors in Mbeere South District, Kenya

Information on nutritional status of children under five years is an indicator of the nutritional situation in society. Identification of core factors  influencing nutrition of this population supports plans to alleviate child malnutrition and its consequences.

This study sought to determine the nutritional status of children under five years and associated factors in Mbeere South District in Kenya. A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted using a structured questionnaire. A total of 144 households was randomly sampled and the nutritional status of one child from each household assessed using anthropometric measurements.

Findings include:

  • Up to 39% of the children were stunted; 7.1% were wasted; and 18.1% underweight.
  • The prevalence of stunting and wasting was significantly higher in boys than in girls (c =6.765, P =.034) and (c= 13.053, P = .036), respectively.
  • The individual dietary diversity score showed that the most consumed food group was cereals. Eggs and meat were the least consumed foods.
  • Low diversity scores were recorded for 41.9% of the children (<4 food groups), 35.7% had medium scores (4-5 food groups); while 22.5% had high scores (6- 8 food groups).
  • There was significant association between household size and nutritional status (P =0.047).

The findings indicate that malnutrition and dietary diversity are major challenges to good nutrition. Future interventions should focus on improving food access and availability for enhanced diet diversification for the rising population.