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Dietary Practices, Morbidity Status and Nutritional Status of People Living With Hiv/aids in Homabay County, Kenya

Dr. Peter M. Chege, Kenya

Untreated infections have been observed to lead to malnutrition among People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAS). The purpose of this study was to explore how dietary practices affect the nutritional and morbidity status of PLWHAS. A cross-sectional study was undertaken to establish the dietary practices and sickness status of 321 randomly selected PLWHAS (aged 18-55 years) in Homa Bay town, Kenya. Findings show a mean individual dietary diversity score of 3.72+-0.11. On average the study population consumed a mean of 2.89+_0.03 meals a day inclusive of snacks. About 26% of the study population failed to meet their recommended daily allowance for energy. More than 20% of the respondents failed to meet their minimum daily micronutrient requirement for iron, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin C. Great disparities were noted in the consumption of energy, protein, vitamin B2, iron and zinc between males and females. Results showed that >50% of the study population consumed only three (cereals, oils & fats, sugars) out of twelve food groups more than three times in seven days. About 55% PLWHAs were sick, malaria being the most prevalent disease affecting 76.8%. About 20% of the respondents were found to be undernourished. Therefore PLWHAS in urban areas of Kenya are bound to exhibit poor nutritional status due to poor dietary practices; denoted in this study by inadequate nutrient intake and reduced number of meals. Results also confirmed inadequate dietary practices given by the low frequency of consumption of selected food groups per seven days.

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