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Tropentag, September 17 - 19, 2018 in Ghent

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

Dietary Diversity and Consumption of Foods from Different Food Groups among Small Holder Women Farmers in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda

M. Gracia Glas1, Lydiah Waswa2, Anna Röhlig1, Ernst-August Nuppenau3, Michael Krawinkel4, Irmgard Jordan1

1Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Cent. for Intern. Dev. and Environm. Res., Germany
2Egerton University, Department of Human Nutrition, Kenya
3Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Inst. of Agric. Policy and Market Res., Germany
4Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Inst. of Nutritional Science, Germany


Inadequate dietary intake among women of reproductive age remains a challenge in some countries of sub-Saharan Africa. This study compared the dietary diversity and consumption of foods from different groups among women in three African countries.
Cross- sectional agriculture-nutrition baseline surveys were conducted in Teso sub-county (Kenya), Kapchorwa District (Uganda) and Lilongwe District (Malawi) between May - November 2016, targeting 1263 farm households with children aged under five years. All three study regions relied on small holder maize farming. Semi-structured questionnaires were used to assess demographic and socio-economic characteristics. A Minimum Dietary Diversity Score for Women (MDD-W, max 10 groups) was calculated based on a 24h-recall. Anthropometric measurements were taken to calculate body mass index (BMI).
Mean (SD) BMI was similar in all three countries (Kenya: 23 kg m-2 ± 4; Malawi: 23 kg m-2± 3; Uganda: 23 kg m-2 ± 4). Mean number of food groups consumed differed significantly between the countries 4.2 ± 1.2 (Kenya), 3.9 ± 1.4 (Malawi), 4.3 ± 1.2 (Uganda), (p ≤ 0.05). The proportion of women who achieved MDD-W in Uganda, Kenya and Malawi were 44.5 %, 41.2 % and 33.5 %, respectively. “Grains, white tubers and plantain” was the most consumed food group (Kenya: 100%; Malawi: 93%; Uganda: 100%). There where great differences in the proportion of women who consumed foods from other food groups. While the least consumed food group in Kenya was nuts and seeds (6 %), eggs were least consumed by women in Uganda (5%) and Malawi (<1%). Only one in 10 women in Kenya (11%) and Uganda (9%) consumed vitamin A rich fruits and vegetables in contrast to 34% in Malawi. Animal source food consumption was twice to three times higher in Kenya compared to Malawi and Uganda (Kenya: 64 %, Malawi: 28 %, Uganda: 21 %).
The low proportion of women who achieved MDD-W indicates a high risk for micronutrient deficiencies in all three regions. Region specific agriculture and nutrition interventions are needed to improve the availability and consumption of the different non-staple foods.
The study was funded by the BLE with support from the BMEL.

Keywords: Dietary diversity, food security, hidden hunger, nutrition

Contact Address: M. Gracia Glas, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Cent. for Intern. Dev. and Environm. Res., Giessen, Germany, e-mail: maria.g.glas@zeu.uni-giessen.de

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