The contribution of urban agriculture and school-feeding programme in schools on nutritional status of pupils: a Study of Nakuru town.
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This study was designed to establish the contribution of urban agriculture in schools and school feeding programme on the nutritional status of pupils in those schools in Nakuru Municipality. A cross sectional study that was descriptive in nature with elements of comparison was carried out. A structured questionnaire was used to collect information on school farming activities and school feeding programmes. The data was used to calculate the caloric and protein intakes from school meals by the pupils. Anthropometric measurements were carried out to determine the nutritional status of pupils selected from four schools; two that practiced agriculture and had a feeding-programme and two that did not have either activity. The collected data was cleaned and analyzed using SPSS. Epi Info was used to calculate the Z-scores. Results of the study showed that 62.5% of the schools in Nakuru town practiced agriculture. Of these, 74% grew crops, 4% kept livestock, and the remaining 22% practiced both. The students taking agriculture as a subject in the school were the ones who mainly carried out the farming activities. The products from farming were mainly used to supplement the feeding programmes, were sold to generate cash or were given out to the children and the staff. The practice of urban agriculture was not found to play significant role in the schoolfeeding programme or the nutritional status of the pupils probably due to the fact that the levels of production were still low and the fact that no school depended entirely on its own produce. However, schools indicated that and would like to continue with the activity. Over half of the schools (61.3%) had school-feeding program (SFP). The SFP was either run by the school (46.9% of schools) or food was supplied to the school by a private caterer (in 18% of schools) who supplied ready to eat food prepared for sale to the students under the supervision of the school. Most of the schools provided lunch only. There was no significant difference between the intakes of proteins and energy between pupils from schools that had a feeding programme and those that did not. The overall rate of malnutrition was 14.8% for stunting, 3.7% underweight and 4.3% for wasting. In general the girls were- nutritionally better off than the boys. Based on Zscores, the nutritional status of pupils in schools that practice agriculture and have a school feeding program was significantly better than those in schools that do not have these activities based on HAZ. However, there were no significant differences in nutritional status based on underweight and wasting at p > 0.05. The study concluded that urban agriculture and school-feeding programmes did not contribute significantly to the nutritional status of the pupils in the study.