Food Science and Technology Vol. 6(2), pp. 56 - 60
DOI: 10.13189/fst.2018.060202
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Nutritional Status and Knowledge among Students from Selected Secondary Schools in Kakamega County, Kenya


John Ombogo *
Research and Extension, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kakamega, Kenya

ABSTRACT

The significance of improving nutrition knowledge in order to have a positive influence on food choices and health should not be underestimated. This study assessed the nutritional status and knowledge of school children attending selected secondary schools in Kakamega County. The study population was purposively drawn from secondary school students in Kakamega County attending Government Public schools. Four secondary schools were used for the study: Mwiyala Secondary School, Ebwambwa Secondary School, Kakamega Township Secondary School and Kakamega High School. A sample of 240 school students, aged 14 to 24 years participated in the study. The measuring instruments included a questionnaire to determine the nutrition knowledge of the students. Anthropometric measurements included weight, height and mid-upper arm circumference, measured using standard methodologies. The mean age recorded for male and female students were 18.0±1.90 and 15.7±1.20 years, respectively. The result showed that 27.9% were underweight, 7.5% overweight and 64.6% had normal BMI status. Nutritional status was significantly related with sex (χ2 = 16.169, p<0.05) but not with age (χ2 = 1.368, p>0.05). The prevalence of underweight was higher among the males (33.9%) compared to the females (13.9%), while more females were overweight (15.3%) compared to the males (4.2%). Seventy-one percent performed poorly in the nutrition knowledge assessment rating. The overall performance of the female students was significantly higher (χ2= 46.386; P<0.05) than their male counterparts. Furthermore, 5, 12 and 12% had excellent, very good and good nutrition knowledge, respectively, while 33% and 38% had fair and poor nutrition knowledge, respectively. The results further revealed that the students were deficient in knowledge and understanding of the facts about energy and nutritive values of foods. Therefore, adequate nutrition education is needed at the secondary school level; this will enable the students to make good food choices and positively influence their eating habits thereby ensuring better nutritional status.

KEYWORDS
Malnutrition, Knowledge, School, Anthropometry, Assessment

Cite this paper
John Ombogo (2018). Nutritional Status and Knowledge among Students from Selected Secondary Schools in Kakamega County, Kenya. Food Science and Technology, 6 , 56 - 60. doi: 10.13189/fst.2018.060202.