Influence of agricultural diversification on dietary diversity, nutrition and health of children (6-23 months old) and their mothers in Kagera Region

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


Agricultural diversification is among tools used for improvement of economy food security and nutritional status at household level. However, there have been few studies on the contribution of agricultural diversification on diets and nutrition of children and women in rural Tanzania. Therefore this study was carried to examine the influence of agricultural diversification on dietary diversity and nutrition of children aged six to 23 months and their mothers in four agro-ecological zones in Kagera region. The specific objectives included: to (i) assess extent and practices in agricultural diversification in four agro-ecological zones (ii) assess gender dimensions in labour for agricultural production diversity and its implication on women’s time and workload (iii) assess household food security, dietary diversity and food consumption pattern of women and their children (iv) evaluate nutritional and health status of children and their mothers (v) examine factors influencing child and mother dietary diversity and nutritional status. A cross-sectional study design was used to collect data from 398 households which were child-mother pairs. Descriptive analysis, indices and counts on agricultural diversification, HFIAS, DDS and anthropometric measurements were performed. The results indicated the overall agricultural diversification, according to Margalef index factored with kept livestock was 39.60%. The women played both productive and reproductive roles. Mean HFIAS score was 5.49 ± 4.71 (range: 0 – 21) while DDS for children and mothers were 2.48 ± 1.4 and 4.25 ± 1.29 respectively. The 9.8% of mothers were underweight, 13.1% were overweight and 3.3% were obese. The overall average score of WAZ, LAZ and WLZ was -0.5975 ± 1.3125, 1.0835 ± 1.9248 and -0.0348 ± 1.2899 respectively. The agricultural diversification should be improved to include more food groups with proper nutritional education programmes and consideration of women work load.


Masters Dissertation


Agricultural diversification, Dietary diversity, Children health, Economy food security, Children (6-23 months-old), Kagera Region