The Impact of Socio-Cultural Factors on the Nutritional Status of Children in Baringo district
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This is a study on the impact of socio-cultural factors on child nutritional status. The main objective was to investigate the impact of some socio-cultural factors on child nutritional status. These and many other factors are believed to cause nutritional disorders among the members of any community in the world today. But the majority of the malnourished cases in the developing countries are associated with the socio-cultural and 'environmental factors. It was hyPOthesized that socio-cultural factors, negatively correlate with the nutritional status of children in the study area. The household formed the major unit of analysis. This study was carried out in Sacho Soi location of Kabarnet Division, Baringo district and a sample of 80 children with their mothers was taken. These formed the basis of this study. The major respondents were the mothers to the affected children. This . is because they are the key child care-takers in the household. Malnourished children were identified at the MCH/FP and the dispensary at Kapkelelwa. A total sample of 55 malnourished children was taken randomly following a sampling frame constructed out of all the malnourished cases identified. The identified cases were then followed up to their homes for further investigations on the root causes of malnutrition. About 25 well nourished children were selected frrom the same neighborhood to act as controls. The data was collected through both formal and info:r:mal methods questionnaire schedules, through discussions and interviews with the medical personnel and the conmunity members, direct observation, dietary survey method: the 7-day recall method and the 24 hour recall method where the meal patterns were recorded, and perusal through archival records and the already available data. Analysis of the data was done through both the descriptive ~d inferential ~tatisticql methods. The chi-square test was used in the analysis. Frequencies and percentages were also used to establish patterns of relationships, with some of the data presented in form of tables. The study found that the following socio-cultural factors to a large extent affect the nutritional status of children In the study area: the breast feeding period, maternal level of education, family type, age at marriage for women, parental' occupation, and the traditional belief systems. It was recommended that the Government and development aid agencies should intensify nutrition program activities in the area of study. Nutrition education should be increased as well as the number of nutritionists /nutrition field workers. The Central Bureau of Statistics (C.B.S) of the Ministry of planning and National development should work hand In hand with the nutrition department of the Minis~ry of Heal~h in formulating policies for the enhancement of better nutrition of the country's population .