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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5358
Vol. 12, No. 3, 2012
Bioline Code: nd12042
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 12, No. 3, 2012

Kwena, AM & Baliddawa, JB


Protein-energy malnutrition remains a major global problem. In Kenya, the prevalence of stunting and underweight has remained stable for over a decade. In Western Kenya the prevalence has remained at 30% stunting, 20% underweight and 6% wasting. Community Based Education and Service (COBES) centres are annually used by Moi University College of Health Sciences for community diagnosis of various health problems including malnutrition. The objective was to determine the prevalence of malnutrition in children aged 5 to 59 months in selected COBES health centres in Western Kenya. Cross-sectional studies were carried out between March and May 2008 in 7 out of 15 COBES centres in Western Kenya. Cluster sampling technique was used with each health centre as the sampling unit. Anthropometric measurements were performed on all children aged 6-59 months within the households sampled. The sample size depended on the number of cases seen in the households within the period of study. A total of 70 households per Health Centre were sampled. Any child between 6 months and 59 months of age in each household was sampled for nutritional status assessment. Anthropometric measurements were done on a total of approximately 700 children in the seven Health Centres: (Stunting- HAZ<-2, Wasting-WHZ <-2, underweight –WAZ<-2 and MUAC, < 12.5mm). The nutritional status of the children was determined using the WHO recommended Z- score values as well as the Kenya Government Ministry of Health recommended charts based on anthropometric measurements. Analysis of the data was carried out using Epi-info 2000 computer software. Meteitei showed the highest malnutrition prevalence (53% HAZ, 15% WHZ, 27% WAZ and 18.1 MUAC) whereas Chulaimbo showed the lowest prevalence (7% HAZ, 3% WAZ). The other centres showed mixed prevalence. The reason for high prevalence in Meteitei could not be immediately ascertained but one of the possibilities could be dependence on tea and sugarcane as major cash crops at the expense of food crops. Prevalence of malnutrition in Chulaimbo was the lowest probably due to mixed farming practised in the area or successful health education in the population. The nutritional status of the children studied was within the normal range in the rest of the Centres.

Nutritional Status, COBES, Western Kenya

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