Nutritional and micronutrient (vitamin A, Iron, and Zinc) status of children aged 9-59 months: a comparative study of kitchen and non-kitchen gardening households in ngong division, Kajiado district, Kenya
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The study sought to assess the potential of kitchen gardening on improving the nutritional and micronutrient status of the study population. The specific objective was to compare the nutritional and micronutrient status of children aged 9-59 months in the households practising kitchen gardening and those without kitchen gardens. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected from a sample of 221 households, of which 80 had kitchen gardens. Qualitative data was collected using key informant interviews, focus group discussions and observation. Quantitative data was collected using a pre-tested structured questionnaire and biochemical analysis of blood. Information was collected on demography, social-economic characteristics, mothers' nutrition knowledge, production and utilization of foods produced in kitchen gardens, food consumption patterns of the households and pre-school children, anthropometry, micronutrient status, morbidity and sanitation. The data was analysed using statistical package for social sciences program and EPI-info available at Applied Nutrition Program. The study results indicated that the kitchen gardening and non-kitchen gardening households were similar in demography and social-economic characteristics. Kales, spinach, 'enderema' (Basela alba), black nightshade, amaranth, spider plant and tomatoes among others were grown in the kitchen gardens. Vegetables produced in the kitchen gardens were consumed at home. Kitchen gardening households more frequently consumed legumes (p=0.044), fruits (p=0.042) and vegetables (p=0.005) than non-kitchen gardening households. There was Xlll more variety of vegetables (p=0.026) and roots and tubers (p=0.000) in the diets of kitchen gardening households than non-kitchen gardening households. The study children in kitchen gardening households consumed green leafy vegetables more often (three times a week for those under three years and four times a week for those above three years), (p=O.OOO)than those in non-kitchen gardening households (two times a week for both the children under three years of age and above three years). The consumption of calorie was inadequate in both kitchen gardening and non-kitchen gardening households. Study children in kitchen gardening households had significantly higher mean intake of vitamin A (p=0.000) and Zinc (p=0.00l) per day as compared to the children in non-kitchen gardening households. Multiple regression analysis showed that the diversity of vegetables, fruits, animal proteins, and cereals consumed was positively associated with both social-economic status and kitchen gardening. Kitchen gardening influenced the diversity of vegetables more (beta =0.261, p=0.048) than the social-economic status (beta =0.113, p=0.05). Nutritional status in the children aged 18-24 months, 48-54 months and 54-59 months was better among those in kitchen gardening households compared to those in non-kitchen gardening households. Fewer children were severely stunted (3.9%, n=80 as compared to 15%, n=133) and no child was severely wasted among kitchen gardening households. Morbidity experience two weeks prior to the study among children in the kitchen gardening xiv households (53.8%) was lower compared to those III non-kitchen gardening households (69.9%). Vitamin A and iron deficiency was lower in the children in kitchen gardening households compared to those from non-kitchen gardening households (p=0.001 and 0.021 respectively). The mean serum retinol, serum ferritin and serum zinc level were also higher for children in kitchen gardening households (p=0.000, 0.039 and 0.002 respectively). Spearman's correlation showed a significant positive relation between kitchen gardening and serum retinol (r=0.503, p=O.OOO),serum ferritin (r=0.346, p=0.010) and serum zinc (r=0.449, p=O.OOl) levels. Serum retinol level was also positively correlated with the vitamin A supplementation. Multiple regression analysis showed that serum retinol (beta=0.381, p=0.003), Serum ferritin (b=0.341, p=0.010) and serum zinc, (b=0.116, p=0.047) levels were positively associated with kitchen gardening. From the study results it is evident that kitchen gardening leads to improved dietary diversity and nutrient intake which in turn leads to decreased morbidity and improved nutritional and micronutrient status of pre-school children. The study therefore recommends that kitchen gardening be taught, demonstrated and encouraged in urban and peri-urban communities.
CitationMaster of science degree in applied human nutrition
University of NairobiDepartment of Food and Nutrition Technology