|RUC2014 Blog 8: Soybean-enhanced diet could improve life expectancy for Kenyan children|
|Tuesday, 24 February 2015 09:55|
How can research make a positive impact on young children suffering from malnutrition and ill health in region of Kenya that’s been highly affected by the HIV pandemic. This article, first published by Kenyatta University and produced by Peter Mwirigi as part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme, looks into how a soybean enhanced diet could help.
This blog, from Kenyatta, is the eighth in this blog series*. More information about the RUC 2014 campaign can be found here.
A diet enhanced with soybean could have a positive affect on malnutrition and ill health amongst young children from a region in Kenya that has been highly affected by the HIV pandemic
Poor feeding patterns and practices, and inadequate diets among households with children aged 6-59 months in Mbita Division, Suba District, Kenya, could partly explain the high morbidity rates for adults and children in the area.
While malaria, upper respiratory infections, stomachaches and diarrhea are the common causes of death, a synergetic relationship exists between inadequate food intake, malnutrition and ill health. “Poor regional feeding practices and inadequate diets could be a contributing factor to morbidity.”
Though it provides inadequate income, most people in this region depend on fishing for their livelihood. Few households practice subsistence farming, leading to food and nutritional inadequacy and insecurity. Findings from the study show that the main foods consumed are maize, sorghum ugali and fish. Vegetable and fruit consumption was generally low. Most households used mixed flour for preparing porridge for children under five.
Aiming for viable intervention
“A comprehensive intervention programme should be made, using soybean-enriched diets in the management of HIV/AIDS”. An in-depth study should be conducted to determine the magnitude of malnutrition and rate of morbidity and its relationship to the HIV/AIDS prevalence. This will facilitate the planning of viable intervention programmes.
Can mothers change this pattern?
Currently, very few households use soybean in their diet. If they do, they usually grind and mix soybean with flour to make porridge for the children. Women carry out soybean farming. A switch from a predominant fish diet to one enhanced with soybean would affect women, as it is men who are mainly involved in fishing and women who would need to grow crops and integrate these into new feeding patterns. This would require motivation and support.
Read the full-lenght original article, “Feeding patterns and practices among households withchildren aged 6-59 months in Mbita Division, Suba District, Kenya, here.