The Effects of Soy Fortified Cereals on Childhood Nutritional Status

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  • Title: The Effects of Soy Fortified Cereals on Childhood Nutritional Status: A Comparative Study
  • Author(s): Florence Wakhu-Wamunga, Brian John Wamunga, Douglas Wakhu
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Food Studies
  • Journal Title: Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
  • Keywords: Child Nutritional Status, Composite Flour, Soy Fortification
  • Volume: 7
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 2160-1933 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2160-1941 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2160-1933/CGP/v07i03/1-11
  • Citation: Wakhu-Wamunga, Florence, Brian John Wamunga, and Douglas Wakhu. 2017. "The Effects of Soy Fortified Cereals on Childhood Nutritional Status: A Comparative Study." Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 7 (3): 1-11. doi:10.18848/2160-1933/CGP/v07i03/1-11.
  • Extent: 11 pages

Abstract

Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) accounts for 50 percent of the annual deaths of children below five years of age. Undernutrition accounts for the deaths of about 5.6 million children on an annual basis. Furthermore, one out of every four children below five years of age living in the least developed countries is underweight. This implies that these children are at risk of early death. These children are also prone to multiple infections. Because of this, there is a need to look at the importance of sound infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices. This study was designed to assess the effects of different soybean composite flour mixtures on nutritional status of preschool children within the Western Kenya farming systems project funded by Vlaamse Interuniversitaaire Raad – University Development Cooperation (VLIR – UOS) to promote the production and utilization of soybeans. This would enhance food and nutritional security among households in this region. This study analyzed children under the age of five in two preschools that provide maize meal porridge as a 10 a.m. snack. Porridge made out of four different composite flour types was provided on a daily basis to the children for a period of three months. A baseline survey was carried out to determine the child’s nutrition status before the onset of the study. Plain maize meal porridge was used as the control while composite flours with 25 percent soybean flours were used in the other three treatments. A complete randomized design was used in the feeding program with anthropometric measurements taken monthly for a period of three months. A one-way ANOVA (p = ˂0.05) was used to determine the effect of the different flour types on nutritional status of children. The children were aged between forty-two and fifty-nine months. Their parents/caregivers were of low socio-economic level. Diets contained starchy foods and vegetables with an inadequate protein intake. At baseline, based on World Health Organization z-scores, 85 percent of the children were normal, 11.5 percent moderately wasted, and 3.5 percent severely wasted. At the end of the study, 99 percent were normal and 1 percent moderately wasted. There was increase in mean body weight throughout the program for all the porridge types consumed. Of all the types of porridge consumed, the maize:sorghum:soybean porridge was the most acceptable in terms of taste, smell, color, and texture. Soybeans are therefore good for the fortification of flours to increase protein intake in children. Results of the study will benefit policymakers, increase the production and consumption of soybeans, improve household income through the sale of extra soybeans produced, improve children’s nutrition status, and alleviate food insecurity.