Factors that negatively influence consumption of traditionally fermented milk (mursik) among preschool children (1-5 years old) in Kapseret location-Uasin Gishu County, Kenya.
Abong, G. O
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Traditionally fermented milks are widely consumed in various countries of sub-Saharan Africa and a number of health benefits to human beings are attributed to them. However, available studies show that children less than 5 years old consume milk mainly as fresh milk or when added to tea or porridge. Therefore, information on consumption of traditionally fermented milk by children is scanty, yet factors hindering its consumption have rarely been studied. The objective of this study was, therefore, to establish factors, which negatively influence consumption of Mursik, a traditionally fermented milk product from the Kenyan Rift Valley, Uasin Gishu County. This will have a positive impact on its consumption and hence increased nutritional status and health among children. The study sought to determine average weekly household mursik production, quantity and the extent of consumption by children less than five years and their association with sociodemographic and economic characteristics of households. A cross-sectional descriptive study involving 383 Kalenjin households was conducted within Kapseret location in August 2013. Structured questionnaires and a focused group discussion (FGD) question guide were the main instruments of data collection. The baseline survey showed that only 32% of households fed their children mursik and they fed a mean quantity of 250 ml per week or 12 kg annually. Education level of respondents (χ 2 = 0.116, P= 0.025), household mursik production levels (χ 2 = 0.1311, P=0.001) and respondents’ nutrition knowledge of mursik (χ 2 =0.154, P=0.005) negatively influenced mursik consumption among pre-school children. Results further indicated that although a majority (86.4%) of respondents had average nutrition knowledge of mursik, the application of these nutrition concepts was lacking. This might be due to socio-economic factors, cultural beliefs, attitudes and/or negative perceptions among respondents of mursik consumption by young children. There seems to be urgent need for a well-designed nutrition intervention program, sensitizing mothers and the population in general on the importance of traditionally fermented milk (mursik) for children and as a transition food that is locally available, affordable and culturally acceptable.
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