Effect of mother support groups on nutritional status in children under two years of age in Laisamis village, Kenya
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Background: To deal with the ongoing malnutrition problem in many parts of Kenya, the government has initialized preventive actions such as mother support groups to improve health and nutrition among children. Few studies have evaluated the effectiveness of such interventions as mother support groups. Objective: This study aimed at determining how mother support groups affect the nutrition status of children under 2 years of age. Methods: A total of 41 children participated. Anthropometric measurements were made once a month on the children during 12 months. Medical history, nutrition status and socioeconomic factors were collected by interviews with the mothers. The children were divided into two groups; one mother support group and one not in support group depending on their mother’s assigned group. Results: Nutritional status estimated by mean Z-score was significantly better among children in the MSG than in the non-support group (P=0.001). There was a significant increase in the number of children with severe acute malnutrition among the children not in support group compared to children in the mother support group (P=0.040). The mean height (P=0.001) and mean weight (P=0.0281) were significantly higher among children in the non-support group compared to the children in the mother support group. Conclusion: Mother support groups may have a beneficial effect on the nutritional status among children under 2 years of age. Cases of severe acute malnutrition may be reduced in children whose mothers attend mother support groups.