This paper aims to describe food insecurity status, food consumption patterns of households and nutritional status of families residing along the baobab belt in Kitui and Kilifi counties of Kenya. It also explores associations between these and household socio-demographic characteristics.
A cross-sectional study design was performed with a sample of 216 caregiver/child pairs interviewed. Tablet-based semi-structured questions were used to obtain information on socio-demographic characteristics of children (6-13 years) and caregivers. Food insecurity status was assessed using the household food insecurity experience scale. Information on food consumption was obtained from qualitative 24-h recall as a basis for calculating a household dietary diversity score. Data were also obtained from a non-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Anthropometric measurements of children and caregivers’ height and weight were taken to assess their nutritional status. Data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Science version 24 and WHO AnthroPlus 1.0.4.
The majority (98.2 per cent) of the households were food insecurity despite 81.5 and 57.4 per cent in Kitui and Kilifi counties, respectively, owning baobab trees. About 32.1 per cent of the households had poor dietary diversity scores (< 4). The prevalence of stunting (28.6 per cent), wasting (11.6 per cent) and underweight (25 per cent) rates among children were high. A significant association was observed between the children stunting rates with their age (p = 0.027), and also with household’s food security status (p < 0.001). Of the caregivers, 14.8 per cent were underweight, 18.1 per cent were overweight and 8.8 per cent were obese. There was significant association between the nutrition status of the caregivers and gender of the children (p < 0.001) and also with stunting rates of children (p = 0.047).
The study provides data on the current food security status and food consumption patterns of households and nutritional status of families residing along the baobab belt in Kenya which are mostly areas of marginal agricultural potential. The findings indicate a need for appropriate dietary improvements.
The authors would like to thank the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in the respective counties and Kenya National Bureau of Statistics for demographic information provided. The authors are also thankful to all the participants for agreeing to participate in the study.
Disclosure statement: The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors are solely responsible for the content of the manuscript.
Funding: This work was financially supported by the Germany Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) under Grant funding code 2813FSNU07 based on the decision of the parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany through the Federal Office of Agriculture and Food (BLE) as a component of the “Enhancing local food security and nutrition through promoting the use of baobab in rural communities in Eastern Africa” (also known as the BAOFOOD) Project.
Momanyi, D.K., Owino, W.O., Makokha, A., Evang, E., Tsige, H. and Krawinkel, M. (2019), "Gaps in food security, food consumption and malnutrition in households residing along the baobab belt in Kenya", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 49 No. 6, pp. 1099-1112. https://doi.org/10.1108/NFS-11-2018-0304
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