Intra-household nutritional dynamics: a cross-sectional study of Maasai Communities in Kenya
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To date, research on dietary consumption and nutritional outcomes of the Maasai in Kenya have failed to explore how gender dynamics and intra-household bargaining power affect dietary decisions. This exploratory qualitative study investigates the decision-making processes regarding eating habits and health-seeking behavior within Maasai families in Kenya, and how such roles currently support or conflict with maternal and child health (MCH) program activities in the field of nutritional education and practices. The data were collected from the three group ranches in Laikipia County in Kenya and draws on six focus group discussions with a total of 24 Maasai men and 24 Maasai women. Our research has documented that the dietary and health-seeking decisions of Maasai families are influenced by complex intra- and extra-household factors. Programmatic interventions need to examine decision-making processes within the context of multi-generational family dynamics and gender hierarchies to scale up community-driven interventions to ensure sustained behavior change.
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