Household food security and nutritional status of vulnerable groups in Kenya : a seasonal study among low income smallholder rural households

H.N. Kigutha

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


<p>Climatic seasonality is now recognized as being a constraint to agricultural production and to household food security in many countries within the tropical regions of the world. This study investigated the extent to which a unimodal climatic pattern affects food production and food availability of smallholder rural households, with special emphasis on households with limited landholdings and low cash incomes. Further investigations involved looking at the effect of fluctuating levels of food availability on dietary intakes and the nutritional status of three vulnerable groups namely: preschool children, lactating women and the elderly. The study was carried out in Nakuru district within the Rift Valley province in Kenya between April 1992 and June 1993. Foods coming into the household from own production, purchases, and gifts were recorded on monthly basis from recalls. Body weight of all the subjects was measured once every month. Height was measured once at baseline for the adults, while length for preschool children was measured three times. Food consumption was determined by 24-hour recall method on monthly basis, and by 3-day weighed records at three points during the lean and the harvest seasons. A unimodal climatic pattern was found to influence food production and hence household food availability during most months within the production cycle. This subsequently influenced food consumption and the nutritional status of the vulnerable groups in the study. Lactating women lost up to 9 percent, elderly men 7 percent, and elderly women 3 percent of their body weight. While no weight losses were observed in the children, weight gains were minimal during the lean season but improved slightly during the postharvest period. It was observed that the energy and nutrient intakes of the children depended more on diet quality rather than on household food availability per se.</p>
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Hautvast, J.G.A.J., Promotor
  • van Staveren, W.A., Promotor, External person
Award date27 Sep 1994
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789054852940
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • food hygiene
  • nutritional state
  • consumption patterns
  • malnutrition
  • fasting
  • weight loss diets
  • nutrition physiology
  • households
  • household income
  • resources
  • seasons
  • kenya


Dive into the research topics of 'Household food security and nutritional status of vulnerable groups in Kenya : a seasonal study among low income smallholder rural households'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this