The contribution of African leafy vegetables (ALVS) to vitamin a intake and the influence of income in rural Kenya
MetadataShow full item record
Despite the increased recognition of African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs) as important source of vitamin A, there is still paucity of research highlighting on the vitamin A intake attributed to them. The level and the extent of contribution of ALVs could inform programming, monitoring and evaluation of vitamin A-related nutrition and development programs. The study aimed at investigating the level of contribution of ALVs to household vitamin A intake and the influence of household monthly income in a rural setting, through use of selected data from a cross-sectional vitamin A consumption survey in Butere-Mumias District, western Kenya. A multistage cluster sampling procedure was used to select 814 households considered for the survey. It was found that plant sources contributed about 43.1% of total household vitamin A intake. ALVs contributed 65.7% of vitamin A from plant sources and 32.7 % of household vitamin A intake. Predominant ALV was the cowpea leaves which accounted for about 45% of vitamin A contributed by ALVs, 34% of the contribution of plant sources and 14.7% of household vitamin A intake. Although the influence of monthly income on the level of vitamin A from ALVs was not conclusive, there were some indications that lower intake from ALVs was positively correlated with lower incomes and vice versa. Income was weakly and negatively associated with household vitamin A intake (r=-1.92, 3.7% of variance explained), and the opposite was true for the proportion of income spent on food verses household vitamin A intake (r=1.64, 2.7% of variance explained). It was apparent that ALVs formed an important dietary source of vitamin A in rural households in western Kenya with cowpea leaves as a predominant contributor. In areas of similar environmental conditions, ALVs production, marketing and consumption should be promoted. There was no evidence that increase in income among the rural folk may likely improve ALVs consumption and vitamin A intake. It is thus recommended that development programs and policies consider ALVs as significant source of vitamin A, and that increments in incomes per se may not significantly influence household vitamin A intake and from ALVs.