Christine Ngaruiya, Jacqueline Cutts, Fangyong Li, Alison Hayward; Food insecurity effect on over- and under-nutrition in rural Uganda: A cross-sectional study; Recent Advances in Food Science; 2018; 1(1): 51-62


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Background: Uganda is a country where public health concerns include malnutrition at the forefront. We sought to assess the association between food insecurity and under-nutrition, as well as the more novel association with over-nutrition in Ugandan children. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 1,612 households was conducted in a rural sub-county of East Central Uganda from July to August 2016. Eligible participants were adults aged 18-54. 559 households received mid-upper arm circumference measurement and 353 received height and weight measurements. The Household Hunger Score was used as the indicator for food insecurity. Results: A total of 167 children were included in the final analysis. The majority of households, 92% (n=126/137), had HHS scores with: “Little to no hunger in the household”. According to weight-for-height, a higher proportion of children met cutoffs for overweight (27.4%, n=31/113), or obesity (12.4%, n=14/113) than moderate (10.6%, 12/113) or severe (4.4%, 5/113) under-nourished status. Conclusion: Our study did not reveal strong evidence of association between food insecurity and over-nutrition, although our analyses were limited by the number of respondents with anthropometric measurements. The under-nutrition front has seen minimal improvement in Uganda, and over-nutrition has gone unaddressed. The relatively high prevalence of over-nutrition supports further research on the topic.