Level of stunting in Kenya


Post Date: 09 April 2018   |   Category: Nutrition   |   Hits: 450


Stunting is the impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation. This effect is because of long-term nutritional deprivation, and often results in delayed mental development. Severe level of stunting is linked to poor socioeconomic conditions and early exposure to adverse conditions such as illness and/or inappropriate feeding practices. One of the measures of the level of stunting in Kenya include height for age index that measures linear growth. As per the index, a child whose z-score is below minus three standard deviations from the median of the reference population in terms of height-for-age is considered short for his/ her age, i.e. severely stunted. 

This week we look at the level of severe stunting in the 47 counties in Kenya to find out the variability in the rates using the recently released KNBS data from the Basic Report on Well Being in Kenya, 2015/16.

According to the report, on average, 11.4% of the children in Kenya are severely stunted. The national average for the overall poverty level shows that 36.1% of the Kenyans leave below the poverty line, Ksh 1,584 and Ksh 2,779 level of consumption per adult per month for rural and urban areas respectively.

Relationship between the level of stunting and poverty in Kenya

Source: Basic Report Based on 2015/16 Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey – 115

Number of the week: 11.4% 

As shown in the chart above, there is no strong relationship between levels of severe stunting with poverty. It is revealed that counties with high levels of stunting include Narok, Laikipia, Mandera and Machakos, it is however Machakos and Narok are relatively less poor. On the flip side, Murang’a, Garissa, Nyamira, Kisumu, Vihiga and Makueni are counties that have low levels of stunting. 

  • 22 counties have severe level of stunting above the national average (11.4%)
  • Out of the above counties, 11 have poverty rates below the national average (36.1%) they include, Narok, Machakos, Meru, Tharaka-Nithi, Kirinyaga, Mombasa, Homa bay, Nyandarua, Bungoma, Nandi and Nairobi.
  • Counties with low severity in stunting and poverty, below the national average include Kericho, Lamu, Kakamega, Taita Taveta, Trans Nzoia, Nakuru, Embu, Siaya, Kiambu, Nyeri, Makueni, Kisumu and Murang’a