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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development

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The dilemma of over and under nutrition coexistence among western Kenya children.

AE Abdulkadir, SA Sohani, F Agoi

Abstract


Kenya can be considered a relatively better developed country among the sub-Saharan African ranks in terms of social services and yet malnutrition (under-nutrition) is still persistent and on the increase as shown in all nutrition and other surveys carried out in 1977, 1979, 1982, 1983 and 2003. Following these reports, a comprehensive survey was carried out in 2000 to explore all developmental and nutritional issues in Western
Kenya, particularly the villages on the eastern shores of Lake Victoria. A
comprehensive survey was carried out to explore any health/developmental issues that might have existed in this target group, particularly the school age children. Of the many developmental issues investigated, nutrition concerns were top priority. The analysis of the nutritional component of the survey confirmed coexistence of stunting
and over-weight among the surveyed children. However, the impact was more pronounced in boys whereby their respective height- for- age indices were <= 5th centile of the WHO standard reference population and those of the girls were ranging between 5th and 25thcentiles. Concomitantly female children (70%) were more overweight than the boys (42%) in terms of weight- for- age, which can be recognised as a nutrition problem related to child developmental issues. It is also known that childhood obesity and/or overweight have positive correlations to later adult life
episodes of degenerative diseases like diabetes mellitus, coronary health diseases and hypertension. On the part of the parents and/or care-givers, about 57% were familiar with growth charts and their respective interpretations indicating more frequent visits to health care centres and posts. From the above findings it can be extrapolated that
Kenyan infants/children at the surveyed area are in the midst of nutritional transition. Therefore, local authority’s intervention at this critical stage of the subject children’s life-cycle is needed to secure the desired child growth trajectory for better health outcomes.



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