Maternal occupation and the nutritional status of mothers and children under the age of five years in Msambweni location, Kwale District -Kenya.
This is a comparative study, which was carried out in Kwale District, Msambweni division from December 1994 to September 1995. This study focuses on the maternal occupation as it influences food consumption patterns, and hence the nutritional status of both mothers and underfives. The study compared three groups of' women ie. business, farmers and housewives. The women were randomly selected from 54 sub-villages then purposively categorized into three groups.The findings indicate that there were no significant differences in the purchasing and eating patterns of food among mothers and their under-fives within the three socio-economic groups of mothers i.e., business, farmers and housewives. The same applied to the mean energy and protein adequacy intakes per day in the three categorise taken by both mothers and under-fives. Stunting was a problem among the under-fives in all the three groups, and malnutrition rate was higher than the figure quoted in the Demography Health Study of 1993 survey which revealed 41% stunted as compared to 47% in this survey. Children from the business group mothers were worse off with 55% rate as compared to 45% and 33% for women categorized as housewives and farmers respectively. Low maternal education, religious and cultural practices, feeding patterns, endemic diseases (malaria and diarrhoea), poor control of income and scarce resources were identified as some of the constraints towards proper mother and child nutrition in this community.