Human nutritionists head for Africa

University of Otago human nutrition researchers (from left) Beth Gray, Dr Karl Bailey, Dr Lisa Houghton, Dr Rachel Brown and masters student Sarah Beaumont are preparing to go to Kenya to study the nutrition of the country's preschoolers. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
University of Otago human nutrition researchers (from left) Beth Gray, Dr Karl Bailey, Dr Lisa Houghton, Dr Rachel Brown and masters student Sarah Beaumont are preparing to go to Kenya to study the nutrition of the country's preschoolers. Photo by Gregor Richardson.

A group of University of Otago nutritionists is travelling to Kenya hoping to improve the nutrition of the country's children.

Senior lecturer in human nutrition Dr Lisa Houghton and Prof Rosalind Gibson will lead the six-strong group, which has dubbed itself

''Team Kenya'', for its four-week research project in the East African country.

The group, which includes Beth Gray, Dr Karl Bailey, Dr Rachel Brown and masters student Sarah Beaumont, were looking forward to the project, Dr Houghton said.

The group leaves tomorrow and would be based in Emali, a city in the south of the country about 125km from capital Nairobi.

The researchers would assess the nutrition of preschool children in the community and identify what their diet was lacking, Dr Houghton said.

''The idea is to help them to grow school gardens,'' she said.

''We are working with the agricultural institute in Kenya to give them some recommendations for the right foods they can cultivate in their school gardens ... and we are looking at bringing in chickens for eggs and goats for goat's milk.''

The project was run in conjunction with ChildFund and it was hoped the community could take over running the project.

''Eventually ChildFund wants to give recommendations and give [to the community] a very sustainable programme built from the ground up and led by the community,'' she said.

Prof Gibson, Dr Brown and Dr Houghton would make another trip back to the country in about 18 months to see the effects of their recommendations and identify any need for changes.

Perhaps a Lit Review before you go?

I suggest  Neumann C. G.  for a start.  Charlotte Neuman has done most of this work over the last 30 years.  For example: "Animal source foods have a positive impact on the primary school test scores of Kenyan schoolchildren in a cluster-randomised, controlled feeding intervention trial." Judie L Hulett, Robert E Weiss, Nimrod O Bwibo, Osman M Galal, Natalie Drorbaugh, Charlotte G Neumann and about 66 other papers on this subject