Qualitative Accounts of School-Aged Children’s Diets during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Rural, Central, Kenya

Megan Jarman, Henriette Zeidler, Laura Shapiro, Rebecca Clarke, Haatembo Mooya, Barnabas Simatende, Danielle Matthews, Grace Koteng, Pamela Wadende*, Claire Farrow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to food security in many countries, including Kenya. However, the impact of this on food provision to children at an individual level is unknown. This small study aimed to provide a qualitative snapshot of the diets of children during the COVID-19 pandemic. During completion of 24-h food recalls, with 15 families with children aged 5–8 years, caregivers were asked about changes they had made to foods given to their children due to the pandemic. Food recalls were analysed to assess nutrient intakes. Qualitative comments were thematically analysed. Most of the families reported making some changes to foods they provided to their children due to COVID-19. Reasons for these changes fell into three themes, inability to access foods (both due to formal restriction of movements and fear of leaving the house), poorer availability of foods, and financial constraints (both decreases in income and increases in food prices). The COVID-19 pandemic has affected some foods parents in rural Kenya can provide to their children.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3543
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 by the authors.
Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
This article is an open access article
distributed under the terms and
conditions of the Creative Commons
Attribution (CC BY) license (https://

Funding: This work was funded by a grant from the Global Challenges Research Fund via the
Economic and Social Research Council. Grant number ES/T004959/1.


  • COVID-19
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet/methods
  • Eating
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Food Supply/methods
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Kenya
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Rural Population/statistics & numerical data
  • SARS-CoV-2


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