Assessing Early Childhood Nutritional Practices in Rural Uganda

Vicky Cheng, Erin Charman, Caitlin Pastorek, Trevor Hedges, Videsh Kapoor



According to the 2011 Uganda Nutrition Action Plan, 40% of children under 5 are malnourished. Local healthcare leaders identified childhood malnutrition as an ongoing problem in the rural village of Nakaseke, Uganda.  This study was aimed at assessing early childhood nutritional practices in Nakaseke, and to identify barriers to healthy nutritional practices in order to create sustainable interventions.


Data was collected using 7 focus groups with a total of 46 participants including community health workers, village health teams and community members. The interviews were conducted in Luganda using a translator, audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for common themes.


General poverty and lack of knowledge were identified as two major barriers to healthy nutritional practices in the community. Poverty lead to an inability to afford certain nutrition-rich foods and was compounded by lack of family planning resulting in large families. A general lack of knowledge contributed to the inappropriate cessation of breastfeeding and the improper introduction of complementary foods, and was due in part to a lack of education on nutrition.


This study identified a continued need for education on nutrition among the community. With a better understanding of current practices and beliefs, we can now collaborate with the community to create sustainable interventions to address their specific needs while taking into account their financial restraints.

The Official Student-Driven Publication of the UBC Faculty of Medicine

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