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Interaction between Dietary intake, Morbidity and Nutritional status among preschool children in Arid & Semi-Arid areas of Kenya

Beatrice Mungai Okoth

Statement of the problem: High levels of malnutrition still prevail in the Arid and Semi-Arid (ASAL) areas of African countries with pre-school children being particularly susceptible due to food insecurity and disease .Previous research has shown high levels of malnutrition among the preschool children in Arid and Semi-Arid areas of Kenya due to food insecurity but the interaction between morbidity, food intake and nutritional status have not been studied. The purpose of these study was to assess the interrelationship between these factors in determining the children’s health status. Methodology and Theoretical orientation: The study adopted a longitudinal Quasi-experimental design involving 150 children selected from Early Childhood Development Centers and their households. Dietary intake and morbidity level were assessed every two weeks and nutritional status at three months interval for nine months. Level of food intake and nutritional status were determined using NutriSurvey 2007 and Anthro 2009 programs. Findings: Children not meeting Required Dietary Adequacy (RDA) for most essential nutrients included 65% for protein, 67 % for Vitamin A, 72% for Iron and 80% for Zinc.