Social-Cultural Factors and Complementary Feeding of Children 6-23 Months Among the Maasai in Narok South Kenya.

Stellah Malaso Koini, Sophie Ochola, Irene A Ogada


Background: The Maasai socio-cultural beliefs and practices have been shown to influence their infant feeding hence determines their nutritional status.

Objective: This study aimed to determine the complementary feeding practices among the Maasai community in Narok South sub-County.

Methodology: A cross-sectional analytical study design was adopted. A total sample of 400 mothers and children were selected using simple random sampling. Data was collected using an infant and young child WHO semi-structured questionnaire and focus group discussion (FGDs) guides. Anthropometric data was interpreted using Z-scores with reference to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2006. ENA for SMART, 2011 software was used to analyze anthropometric data. Quantitative data was analyzed using statistical packages for social sciences (SPSS) version 20. Statistical significance was set at p value less than 0.05.

Results: Early introduction of complementary feeding was common in the community. Comparison of the prevalence of malnutrition between the boys and girls revealed that stunting and underweight was significantly higher in the girls (stunting, 33.3%; underweight, 14.1%) compared to the boys (stunting, 26.8%; underweight, 11.3%), On the other hand a larger proportion of the boys had low weight for height (8.9%) compared with the girls (11.0%). Cultural factors and taboos were seen to have greatly influenced the infant feeding practices.

Conclusion: Socio-cultural factors associated with the complementary feeding have a strong influence on children 6-23 months of age in the Maasai community, in Narok South -Sub County.

Keywords: socio-cultural factors, complementary feeding, Nutrition status, pastoralists.

DOI: 10.7176/JHMN/62-18

Publication date:May 31st 2019

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