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Tropentag, September 17 - 19, 2018 in Ghent

"Global food security and food safety: The role of universities"

Micronutrient Adequacy in Diets Consumed by School Children from Farming Communities of Tanzania

Victoria Gowele1, Joyce Kinabo1, Theresia Jumbe1, Nyamizi Bundala1, Laila Eleraky2, Hadijah Mbwana1, Constance Rybak3, Stefan Sieber3, Khamaldin Daud Mutabazi4, Wolfgang Stuetz2

1Sokoine University of Agriculture, Food Techn. Nutrition and Consumer Sci., Tanzania
2University of Hohenheim, Inst. of Biological Chemistry and Nutrition, Germany
3Leibniz Centre for Agric. Landscape Res. (ZALF), Inst. of Socio-Economics, Germany
4Sokoine University of Agriculture, School of Agric. Economics & Business Studies, Tanzania


School children are vulnerable to micronutrient deficiencies. Micronutrient deficiencies during this period may lead to retarded growth, poor cognitive development, anaemia and increased risk of infections. This study aimed to assess the adequacy of zinc, iron and vitamin A, in diets consumed by school children aged 5-10 years in Chamwino and Kilosa districts, Tanzania.

In a cross-sectional study, 666 children aged 5-10 years were randomly recruited. Dietary assessment was conducted using a quantified 24 hours recall and a food frequency questionnaire. Nutri-survey software was used for analysis of nutrient intake. Serum levels of zinc, iron and vitamin A were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and spectrophotometric methods. Household dietary diversity score (HDDS) was also derived. Data are presented as means (SD) and prevalences and compared using ANOVA, and chi-squared test.

The median caloric intake was 898 Kcal, 81% of the children in the study did not met the recommended daily intake (RDI) for energy. The median dietary intake of iron was 11.5 mg day-1 and was inadequate for 26% of the children. The median dietary intake of zinc was 4.9 mg day-1 with 95% of the children not meeting the RDI. The median dietary intake of vitamin A was 320 µgRE day-1 and was inadequate for over 62% of the children. The prevalence of anaemia, low vitamin A status and zinc deficiency among study children was 42.9%, 65.4% and 32.8% respectively. Iron deficiency prevalence was 27.8%. Anaemia, low vitamin A status and zinc deficiency, which may be partly linked to the poor dietary intake was prevalent among children in the study area. The overall mean HDDS was 4.8 ±1.8. The least consumed food groups in both districts were eggs, milk products and meat/organ.

The consumed diets had limited diversification coupled with inadequate intake of iron, zinc and vitamin A, leading to poor micronutrient status. This study recommends consumption of pro vitamin A rich vegetables/fruits and animal based foods in order to improve children's micronutrient status in the study villages.

The financial support of Scale-N project by the German federal ministry of food and agriculture (BMEL) is highly acknowledged.

Keywords: Dietary intake, iron, school children, vitamin A, zinc

Contact Address: Victoria Gowele, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Food Technology, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences, P.O. Box 3006, Morogoro, Tanzania, e-mail: vgowele@yahoo.co.uk

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