Article abstract

Introduction: malnutrition is an underlying cause of mortality in about half of the cases that occur among children less than five years in developing countries. In Africa including Kenya, this problem may be exacerbated by socio-demographic and socio-economic factors. This study aimed at determining nutritional status and association of demographic characteristics with malnutrition among children aged 1 day to 24 months in Kwale County, Kenya.


Methods: a cross-sectional study was done in Mwaluphamba Location, Kwale County, Kenya. Data was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire and administered to 380 randomly selected mothers who had children under the age of two years. Nutrition status was determined using anthropometric measurements. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and associations were determined by univariate logistic regression.


Results: malnutrition prevalence for children in Kwale was high with 29.2% of the children being stunted and 13.4% being severely stunted. Underweight prevalence was at 20.8% of whom 9.5% were severely underweight. The global acute malnutrition rate was 18.9%. Stunting differed significantly between sex (males 35.1% compared to females 21.7%; p = 0.005). Significant differences were also observed in stunting and underweight due to age (p < 0.005).


Conclusion: the prevalence of stunting, underweight and global acute malnutrition rates was high among the children. Male children were associated with a significantly higher prevalence of stunting than the females. The prevalence of underweight and stunting significantly increased with increasing age.