Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences

Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences
Open Access

ISSN: 2155-9600


Nutrition Status of Children in Orphanages in Selected Primary Schools within Dagoretti Division Nairobi, Kenya

Elizabeth W Mwaniki and Makokha AN

Background: School-age children are particularly vulnerable to under nutrition as the priority in nutrition interventions is often to prevent malnutrition during fetal development and the first years of life. Children stunted at school age are likely to have been malnourished since early childhood. However children can exhibit catch up growth if their environment improves thus interventions for school age children can supplement efforts in the preschool years to reduce levels of stunting. Objective: Assess the nutrition status and associated risk factors of primary school children living in orphanages in selected primary schools in Dagoretti Division, Nairobi.
Design: Cross-sectional survey Setting: Peri-urban Primary school children from three orphanages Subjects: Two hundred and eight, four to eleven year olds from three randomly selected orphanages. Results: Among the children surveyed, 47.2%, 33.2 and 9.2% were stunted, underweight and wasted, respectively. There were more boys stunted and wasted than girls. Stunting increased from 4.8% to 24.5% and underweight from 2.9% to 16.4% in children who had stayed in the orphanage for 12 months and 36 months respectively. The children consumed only 11.2% of the daily energy intake from breakfast. Only 50% of the children took the three main meals of the day. Morbidity rates were higher among boys than girls. Only12.8% of the children washed hands with soap after visiting the toilet.
Conclusion: The few meals taken meant that the children were hungry most of the morning and those who did not take lunch were hungry most of the day. High morbidity rate, inadequate amounts and diversity of foods served to the orphanage children and low basic hygiene are important malnutrition predictors. The rate of chronic under nutrition became more apparent with long duration of stay in the orphanage. Efforts should be directed towards increasing energy intake in the orphanages’ diets.