Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies

First Advisor

Alyce M. Fanslow


The purpose of the study was to examine the growth pattern of infants from birth to six months in a rural area in Kenya and to seek explanations for the infant's pattern of growth. Data were collected by the Nutrition Collaborative Research Support Project in Kenya from 1984 to 1986 and involved 133 households with infants. Data on supplementary food intake, infant anthropometry, female anthropometry, household socioeconomic status and adult literacy were obtained;The growth pattern of infants was evaluated against the World Health Organization (WHO) reference population using weight for age and length for age indices. The birth weight for 23.9% of the males and 24.5% of the females was below the 20th percentile of their weight for age. This percentage rose to 39.5% for males and 37.7% for females at the sixth month;The length for age index indicated a slowing of skeletal growth. About 43% of the males and 41% of the females had lengths that were below the 20th percentile at birth. More male infants (87.3%) than female infants (75.5%) were below the 20th percentile of the WHO reference population at the sixth month. This pattern of growth may be due to inadequate nutrient intake at a time when growth rate is supposed to be high;The socioeconomic indicators did not seem to influence greatly the growth of these infants. This result was probably due to the low socioeconomic status of the families indicating a lack of resources to provide for adequate feeding to sustain growth;Nutrition educators working with pregnant and lactating mothers may need to help mothers understand the need for adequate consumption of nutrients for both the mother and the infant. If food consumption for both could be improved, then children would have a healthier start in life.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Josephine Mwikali Kiamba



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

129 pages