Background: Poor nutrition status has been reported among children from pastoralist communities with dietary practices being a key determinant. One of the major determinants of dietary practices adopted among the children is the nutritional knowledge of the caregivers. There is minimal information on how nutritional knowledge level among caregivers is associated with dietary practices of children.
Methods: A cross-sectional analytical design was adopted on a randomly selected sample of 138 caregivers from 2 randomly selected sub-locations in Kajiado County, Kenya. An open-ended questionnaire was used to collect information on the caregiver’s nutritional knowledge and the dietary practices of children. The caregivers’ responses on knowledge were scored and analyzed using a likert scale. Data on dietary practices collected using a 24-hour recall was analyzed using the Nutiri-survey computer software.
Results: The nutritional knowledge level for the majority (92.7%) of the caregivers was low (< 40% score). In addition, the dietary practices among the children were poor as depicted by < 3 meals per day taken by 76.1%, low dietary diversity of < 6 food groups per day by 95.7%. This translated to 15.2% not taking adequate energy and over 70% of the children consuming less than the recommended dietary allowances for vitamin A, iron, and zinc. The nutritional knowledge level among caregivers was significantly associated with the dietary practices (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: The dietary practices adopted by the caregivers are poor and are as a result of their low nutritional knowledge on child feeding. This study recommends initiation of programs to educate the caregivers on good nutritional practices.