Food intake in Uganda’s Upcoming Townships: A Case Study of Nkoma-Katalyeba Town Council, Kamwenge District.
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Background Ugandan government created over 250 new town councils earlier this year (Atwiine, 2018) and this change is assumed to cause many changes in terms of household income, welfare and food security. This would then impact on food intake for the town dwellers. Inadequate food intake is an important public health issue that has large health and economic implications. This study sought to describe food intake of households in Nkoma-Katalyeba town council as one of the upcoming township. Objective The main objective of the study was to describe food intake in Nkoma-Katalyeba town council. Methodology This was a descriptive cross-sectional study carried out to describe food intake. It involved collection of both quantitative and qualitative data from 385 randomly selected households with a child aged less than five years. A semi-structured questionnaire was used on mothers and or caretakers of the reference child to collect quantitative data. Qualitative data was collected from operators of upcoming food businesses in the new town council using key informant interview guides. Quantitative data was entered into EpiData, cleaned and analyzed using Stata version 12 and presented in tables and figures using frequencies, proportions, percentages. Qualitative data was analysed manually. Results All the food items consumed in the 24 hours preceding the study were assigned to one of the 7 food groups and the percentage of households consuming foods from four or more food groups was calculated regardless of the frequency and amount consumed. More than quarter (29%) of the households consumed a minimum of four food groups with almost all (97.39%) households consuming energy giving foods (bread, flour, plantain, roots, tubers, cereals). The most eaten food item was banana and half the households had had the privilege of eating yellow and green vegetables. About half (45.20%) consumed food from animal origin, 89.61% consumed legumes. Most of the households (97.4%) cooked food obtained from their gardens. More than half of the households (55%) ate and felt satisfied. Sweet potatoes, the most common staple was hardly fed to children as most respondents alleged that children were allergic. Sweet potatoes cause children diarrhoea and running stomach if consumed repeatedly. Most households followed a three meal eating pattern of breakfast, lunch and supper. Most of those who consumed breakfast were using leftover foods from their supper meals. Conclusion The overall study findings show that there was inadequate food intake. Most households did not consume animal foods. There should be regular health and nutrition education on the food diversity scoring for households to improve food intake of their young ones. A feasibility study on improving the utilisation of animal foods in such an upcoming township should be conducted.