The objective of this descriptive cross sectional study was to assess dietary intake and nutritional status of children under-five years in two rural sites of Eastern Kenya where the staple cereals may differ. A modified rapid, knowledge, practice and coverage (KPC) questionnaire and a 24-hr dietary recall form were used to collect the data. A total of 403 households were surveyed from four randomly selected divisions. This yielded 629 surrogate 24-hr dietary recalls of children < 5 years with 314 from Mwingi district and 315 from Makueni district (49 % boys and 51 % girls).

Statistical analysis was done using SPSS and SAS. Comparison of means was done using t- test and chi square was used for proportions. The 24-hr recalls were analyzed using the NDS-R 2008. Height, weight and age were used to compute the malnutrition indices (Z-scores) using EPI INFO 2000.

Daily energy intake (mean ± SD) for all the children was 1056 ± 553 Kcal. Daily energy intake 1130 ± 595 Kcal in MW children was 15% higher compared to MA children (983 ± 499 Kcal, p = 0.002). Boys had a 12% higher daily energy intake than girls (p = 0.005). Grains contributed 62-68 % of total energy intake in both districts. The contribution to total energy from grains was 27 % higher in MW children (p = 0.0001). There were gender and geographical differences in diets of children in Ukambani region with the most prominent perhaps being the type and amount of cereal intake.

Girls had higher malnutrition prevalence rates (height-for-age; HAZ = 51.7%, weight-for-age; WAZ = 32.1% and weight-for-height; WHZ = 4.6%) than boys (height-for-age 35.9%, weight-for-age 14.6% and weight-for-height 1.2%). Boys had more favorable mean Z score indices (HAZ = -1.33, WAZ = -0.60 and WHZ = 0.25) than girls (HAZ = -2.02, WAZ = -1.37 and WHZ = -0.10). Regardless of geographical location malnutrition in both boys and girls was related to age. Further research is needed to establish the determinants of malnutrition at household level that might be causing gender disparity in nutritional status in Ukambani region of Mwingi and Makueni.




School of Public Health

First Advisor

Joan Sabaté

Second Advisor

Karen Jaceldo-Siegl

Third Advisor

Pramil Singh

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Children -- Nutrition -- Kenya; Malnutrition in children -- Kenya; Child Nutrition Disorders -- Kenya; Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena; Food Habits -- Kenya; Nutrition Surveys -- Kenya; Anthropometry -- statistic and numerical data; Epidemiologic Methods; Body Weights and Measures; Epidemiologic Methods; Energy Intake -- Kenya; Cereals; Food, Fortified; Cross-Sectional Studies; Ukambani Region (Kenya) -- epidemiology.



Page Count

xi; 109

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

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This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


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