The main contribution of fathers to their children’s nutrition in rural Uganda is providing money to buy food. In a study involving 346 households, 94% of the men did this, while 83% of the fathers were active in growing food. Meanwhile, only 9% of the fathers reported attending child clinics with the mother, though 47% provided money for the mother to go, an action that was positively correlated with the children’s good nutrition. 20% of the fathers were actively involved in child feeding decisions.
Fathers’ knowledge of nutrition was limited – just less than 40% of the men could mention at least one message to give to mothers about nutrition. Focus group discussions with these fathers found that many wanted to know more.
The participation of men in children’s nutrition was scored. The more ways that fathers are involved, the better the children’s nutrition. 60% of the men participated in 8 or more of the following activities:
Participation in decision-making around child feeding – breastfeeding, complementary feeding, order of serving food.
Providing physical support – feeding the child, doing housework, assist in farming, going to a child health clinic.
Knowing and providing information – breastfeeding, child feeding.
Financial support – for food, transport.
Kansiime N, Atwine D, Nuwamanya S & Bagenda F (2017), Effect of male involvement on the nutritional status of children less than 5 years: a cross sectional study in a rural southwestern district of Uganda, Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
Photo: Trocaire. Creative Commons.