Effect of school garden food production on nutrient adequacy of school meals for children attending Namasagali primary school in rural Kamuli district, Uganda
Laura Agaba Byaruhanga, Dorothy Mukudi Masinde, Gail R. Nonnecke, Dennis Lutwama, Judith Kimiywe, Daudi Mose Nyangaresi
Background: Access to good nutrition either at home or school can contribute to the elimination of malnutrition and its associated health and developmental problems among school-going children. School feeding programs supported by school garden food production create diversity in the meals, promote agricultural skill development, boost local food production and reduce over dependence/reliance on donors.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the nutritional adequacy of the meal served to the pupils of Namasagali Primary School (NPS) and contribution to their Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA).
Design: A cross-sectional study with an analytical design and laboratory analysis were used. Data on socio-economic and demographic characteristics, dietary intake patterns and anthropometric measurements was collected from 226 pupils The meal (stew of whole maize, beans, collards, tomatoes, salt, and vegetable oil) was analyzed in the laboratory for energy, protein, fats, vitamin A, iodine, and iron using Association of Official Analytical Chemist (AOAC) methods (2005). School garden production of three high-value crops (collards, tomatoes, and grain amaranth) were monitored with inputs and yield recorded and cost accordingly. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 17 and Nutri-survey. Descriptive statistics such as mean, frequencies and percentages were used to describe the data.
Setting: This study was conducted at NPS. It is a missionary founded school that began way 1932. It is located in Kabanyoro village, Namasagali Parish, Namasagali Sub County of Kamuli District. The district is in one of the most food-insecure parts of the country with at least 50% of the population not having enough to eat throughout the year as reflected by seasonal fluctuations in food productivity and high malnutrition rates (79%).
Result: A higher level of cross tabulation and correlation test of the three hypothesis was done and P<0.05 was used to determine statistical significance. From the study, 50.4% were male pupils while 49.6% were females. About 51% of the caregivers had attained at least level of primary education with 89% of them being peasant farmers. The most grown crops were maize (97%) and sweet potatoes (87%). The school meal provided a significant amount of calories (853kcal) and all other major nutrients as compared to what the pupils consumed at home.
Conclusion: This study found that the maize and beans diet served at the school for lunch had a high caloric and protein intake as compared to the maize meal porridge (50kcal) that the pupils were initially consuming. The meal contributed a significant amount of nutrient to the pupils RDA between 28%-43% for the age group as compared to 7%-11% of the meals at home.