Food Security and Nutritional Status of Children Residing in Sugarcane Growing Communities of East-Central Uganda: A Cross-sectional Study
Wanyenze, Rhoda K.
Matovu, Joseph K. B.
Garimoi Orach, Christopher
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Undernourishment is a major public health issue in several developing countries including Uganda. Sugarcane farming practiced in several districts of the East-central Uganda is reported to be threatening food and nutrition security. We assessed household food and nutrition security in order to inform nutrition policy and program design for communities engaged in cash crop production. We conducted a cross-sectional study in Jinja district east-central Uganda. All households with children aged below five years in Nabitambala parish Busede sub-county were investigated. A total of 646 children from 382 households were studied. Food security data were collected using the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale. Nutritional status of the children was assessed using Height-for-Age, Weight-for-Age and Weight-for-Height to measure stunting, underweight and wasting respectively. Standard deviation (SD) scores (Z-scores) were applied to determine nutritional status. Statistical analysis was done using STATA statistical software package. The prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting was 33.3%, 27.4% and 18% respectively. Of the 382 households studied 12% were food secure while 14.7%, 23.6% and 49.7% had mild, moderate and severe food insecurity respectively. Of the 95 households with wasted underweight and stunted children, the majority (85.3%, 88.3% and 91%), were food insecure respectively. The percentage of households with children who were malnourished significantly increased with increase in the number of children in the households. There is high prevalence of malnutrition and household food insecurity in the sugarcane growing communities of east-central Uganda. Short and long term measures are required to mitigate food insecurity and malnutrition in these settings especially in households with many children.
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- School of Medicine