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Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
Volume 2014, Article ID 907153, 9 pages
Research Article

Food Insecurity and Not Dietary Diversity Is a Predictor of Nutrition Status in Children within Semiarid Agro-Ecological Zones in Eastern Kenya

1Centre for Public Health Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, P.O. Box 20752, Nairobi 00200, Kenya
2Centre for Biotechnology Research and Development, Kenya Medical Research Institute, P.O. Box 54840, Nairobi 00200, Kenya
3School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Sainte Anne de Bellevue, QC, Canada H9X 3V9

Received 2 June 2014; Revised 11 August 2014; Accepted 11 August 2014; Published 28 September 2014

Academic Editor: Christel Lamberg-Allardt

Copyright © 2014 Zipporah N. Bukania et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Machakos and Makueni counties in Kenya are associated with historical land degradation, climate change, and food insecurity. Both counties lie in lower midland (LM) lower humidity to semiarid (LM4), and semiarid (LM5) agroecological zones (AEZ). We assessed food security, dietary diversity, and nutritional status of children and women. Materials and Methods. A total of 277 woman-child pairs aged 15–46 years and 6–36 months respectively, were recruited from farmer households. Food security and dietary diversity were assessed using standard tools. Weight and height, or length in children, were used for computation of nutritional status. Findings. No significant difference () was observed in food security and dietary diversity score (DDS) between LM4 and LM5. Stunting, wasting, and underweight levels among children in LM4 and LM5 were comparable as were BMI scores among women. However, significant associations () were found between severe food insecurity and nutritional status of children but not of their caregivers. Stunting was significantly higher in older children (>2 years) and among children whose caregivers were older. Conclusion. Differences in AEZ may not affect dietary diversity and nutritional status of farmer households. Consequently use of DDS may lead to underestimation of food insecurity in semiarid settings.