Dietary management during and in the absence of diarrhoea in children 4-36 months of age in peri-urban Nakuru
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Research on dietary practices and belief systems in disease can provide better guidelines for programme strategies, for pub lIc health planning as we 11 as advance theoretical understanding of human responses to disease. The principal objective of this study was to determine dietary patterns of children aged 4-36 months during and in the absence of diarrhoea in peri urban Nakuru. The study was carried out in two phases. In Phase one, prevalence rate of diarrhoea was determined in a random sample of 480 households. In Phase two, diet patterns were established in a purposive sample of 211 children experiencing an episode of diarrhoea. Out of these 211 children, 199 recovered successfully and were followed up for diet management in the absence of diarrhoea. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected using twenty four hour diet recall, diet history methods. (habitual food intake) and observation Chi-square, student t, and analysis of variance tests were used to test for statistical differences between diet management for children during diarrhoea and diet management in the absence 10 of diarrhoea; specifically, foods consumed, avoided, frequencies of feeding, nutritional foods diet quality and quantity were tested. The results showed a diarrhoea prevalence rate of 21%. There were no differences in the types of foods consumed during diarrhoea and those consumed in the absence of the disease. However, consumption of most foods was less frequent during diarrhoea than in its absence. Consumption of millet meal porridge (P(.001) was significantly more frequently consumed by children during diarrhoea than in the absence of the disease. The mothers believed that the millet meal porridge would reduce diarrhoea duration and the number of stools per 24 hours. Plain milk (PC 001), was avoided more frequently in the diets of children during diarrhoea compared to children in the absence of diarrhoea. The mothers believed that plain milk would increase the duration and the volume of diarrhoea per twenty four hours. Children were fed five times per 24 hours during and in the absence of diarrhoea. average food group The diet quality was of 3.3 complexity scores during diarrhoea and 3.4, in the absence of diarrhoea. In addition to breast milk, children during diarrhoea consumed an average of 11.7 grammes of protein and 487.7 calories per day during diarrhoea, w hi I e 11 children in the absence of diarrhoea consumed an average of 14.7 grammes of protein and 606 calories per day; this difference was statistically significant for both protein (P(.Ol), and calories (P(.OOl). The study showed that during diarrhoea, children consumed significantly less compared to when they had no diarrhoea.