Open Access Food and nutritional security of children of urban farmers in Kampala, Uganda

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Abstract:

Background. Urban agriculture is an important livelihood strategy to increase access to and availability of food in urban settings.

Objective. We examined the impact of sociodemographic and farming variables on the household food security and nutritional security of an index child aged 2 to 5 years. Our hypothesis was that dietary quality (percentage of energy from animal-source foods [%ASF] and dietary diversity) would have an impact on infection (as measured by C-reactive protein [CRP]), which in turn would have an impact on biochemical indices (hemoglobin and retinol) and anthropometric indices (weight-for-age z-score [WAZ] and body mass index z-score [ZBMI]). We examined the relationships among urban agricultural activities, household food security, and child nutritional security.

Methods. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 296 households within each randomly selected study zone in Kampala, Uganda. Correlations were calculated and bivariate and exploratory path analysis was conducted to explore relationships.

Results. Household food security score was significantly positively correlated with the number of tropical livestock units (r = 0.142, p = .017), dietary diversity (r = 0.230, p < .001), %ASF (r = 0.185, p = .002), and WAZ (r = 0.149, p = .017). Exploratory path analysis demonstrated a significant positive relationship between household food security and %ASF, which in turn was positively associated with retinol. Consumption of animal-source food was significantly negatively associated with C-reactive protein level, which in turn was significantly negatively associated with hemoglobin level, and hemoglobin was significantly positively associated with WAZ.

Conclusions. Our findings are supportive of efforts to enhance access to land for urban farming and engagement in activities aimed at improving the quality of dietary intake of urban residents, in particular by increasing consumption of animal-source foods.

Keywords: CHILDREN; DEVELOPING COUNTRIES/NATIONS; FOOD SECURITY; HEALTH STATUS; NUTRITION SECURITY; PATH ANALYSIS; URBAN AGRICULTURE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • 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.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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