The dietary intake and nutritional status of 162 children in a school with a lunch programme (the feedingprogramme group) and 163 children in a school without a lunch programme (the no-feeding-programme group) in Nyambene District, Kenya, were compared. The relationship between such
child growth determinants as income sources, per capita weekly food expenditure and consumption frequency, per capita energy and protein intake, and the nutritional status of the children was also compared between the two groups. Daily caloric consumption in the group with a feeding programme
was significantly higher than in the group without a feeding programme: 1,590 kcal, or 86% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), versus 1,457 kcal, or 76% of the RDA (p < .05). The protein intake was mainly of plant origin. Although not significantly different between the two
groups, it was higher for children without a feeding programme (62 g; 238% of the RDA) than for those with a feeding programme (56 g; 216% of the RDA). The prevalence of wasting among children with a feeding programme (9%) was significantly higher than among those without a feeding programme
(2%) (p < .05). The level of stunting was about the same in both groups: 24% in the group with a feeding programme and 25% in the group without a feeding programme. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of underweight between the two groups. Overall, the nutritional
status of girls was better than that of boys, although the difference was not statistically significant. It is evident that children participating in the feeding programme did not have a nutritional advantage over non-participants. Thus, there is need to evaluate school feeding programmes
in Kenya to identify and address the weaknesses that curtail their impact.
Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation. The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.
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