Nutritional Status of Under-five Children in Arumeru District, Tanzania
Malnutrition not only hinders development but also indicates that the basic physiological needs of individuals have not been adequately met. This study was conducted to assess the nutritional status of the under-five population among the local community in the Arumeru district. The study's specific goals were to analyse under-five food usage at the household level, examine food intake frequency, and calculate the dietary diversity score among the sampled population. The study was conducted in the Arusha region, whereby a sample size of 382 households was selected from the study area. Data analysis involved the use of descriptive statistics. The findings revealed that children under the age of five in the study area experience both micro and macronutrient deficiencies, indicating a state of food nutrition insecurity. Results also showed that more than 50% of the sampled under five scored less than the WHO’s recommended Household Dietary Diversity score which is 33.3%. However, 54.8% of 62 sampled under five children were underweight (<18.5). Moreover, 46% of the households (HH) had less than four meals for under five per day. The most consumed food group by the under-five was cereal, especially maize which is converted into Ugali and porridge, meat, vegetables, and milk which are most of the time shared with the adults with an average of 8,000 Kcal to 10,000 Kcal per day per head. Based on the results, the paper concludes that children under the age of five in the study area are still facing issues related to overweight and improper feeding practices. Therefore, the paper recommends extension officers (food nutritionists and development partners) to continue changing the mindset of household members through in-house training, which will capacitate the communities in preparing types of food for those under five using their own local resources and food available in their respective surroundings.
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