The epidemiology of malnutrition in young children in Kamnarok Mosop, Baringo district
A cross-sectional survey was set up to establish the prevalence of protein-energy malnutrition and to identify its probable determinants in Kamnarok Mosop, Kabartonjo Division in Baringo District. The survey sought to establish a relationship between socioeconomic status, water availability, individual child morbidity experience, time spent by mothers doing household chores, and nutritional status of preschool children. The subjects of the study were children aged between 6- 40 months. Their mothers were the respondents who provided relevant information about their children and household amenities. To determine prevalence of protein-energy malnutrition of preschool children anthropometric measurements of each child were obtained. These measurements included determination of the precise age, height, and weight of an individual child. Using weight-for-age as an indicator of prevalence, the obtained measurements were entered on a Centre for Disease Control (CDC) programme and compared ~ with the National Centre for Health Science (NCHS) reference population for each sex. All children whose weights were less than -2 Standard Deviation (-2SD) of the standard weight-for-age of the reference population were considered undernourished. About 18.4% of the total study children fell in this group. Variables which showed associations with a child's nutritional status were the age and sex of a child, number of pregnancies of the mother, childhood morbidity, total household income, and total time spent by the mother on household chores. However, no conclusive statements could be made concerning the determinants of malnutrition amongst the variables considered. Though the above variables showed associations with nutritional status, they had very low correlation coefficients. There is need for further research to identify other factors that may have had an influence on the nutritional status. Organization of women into groups through which literacy campaigns and nutrition education can be chanelled, establishment of income generating activities to exploit maternal skills and reduction of household chores to make more time available for child care recommended for the improvement of nutritional status.