Household food insecurity is associated with child’s dietary diversity score among primary school children in two districts in Ghana
Background: Dietary diversity is generally considered as a good indicator of nutrient adequacy and is influenced by various factors at the national, household, and individual levels.
Objective: The present study sought to determine the relationships between household food insecurity, primary caregivers’ nutrition knowledge, and dietary diversity of school-aged children in Ghana.
Methods: This forms part of a longitudinal study conducted in the Ayawaso West Municipal district in Accra (urban setting) and the Upper Manya Krobo district (rural setting) in Ghana. Data were collected from a total of 116 caregiver-child dyads using 24-h dietary recall and a short version of the US 12-month Household Food Security Survey Module. Nutrition knowledge and sociodemographic data were obtained using a structured questionnaire. Multivariable logistic regression was used to check for factors associated with children’s dietary diversity.
Results: Majority of households reported food insecurity, with a higher percentage of insecure households located in the rural area (88.9% vs. 46.5%, P ≤ 0.0001), compared to the urban setting. Diet diversity among the study children was low, with a mean (standard deviation [SD]) of 5.8 (2.1) out of 14 food groups. Children living in food insecure households were three times more likely to have received low diverse diet compared to those from food secure households (adjusted odds ratio [OR] =3.3, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.4–8.0). Caregivers’ nutrition knowledge was, however, not related to children’s dietary diversity.
Discussion and conclusion: Household food insecurity was a main predictor of dietary diversity among school-age children in this study. Thus, caregiver knowledge in nutrition may not be enough, particularly in the presence of food insecurity to guarantee adequate nutrition for school-aged children.
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