Do household fish ponds improve family nutrition? A study in Nepal
Keywords:aquaculture, child health, family nutrition, fish consumption
Protein malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies are major concerns afflicting the people of Nepal and other countries in the region. Fish has been recognized as a good nutritional source of protein, and small-scale fish culture has recently increased in this region with the inclusion of household ponds in rural communities. This study focused on the value of household ponds by comparing fish consumption and indicators of health for children and women in households with fishponds, to those without ponds. In Kathar area of Chitwan district and Kawasoti area of Nawalparasi district, 51 and 55 households, respectively, each including children between the ages of 1 and 5 years and owning at least one fish pond, were recruited for participation in a survey through door-to-door visits. Similarly, 54 households in Majhui area of Chitwan district and 55 in Pragatinagar area of Nawalparasi district that did not own fish ponds were recruited. Results indicated mothers from locations with fish ponds consumed significantly more fish than those without ponds (93% more), and reported 105 percent higher rates of fish consumption by their children. Owners of household ponds also consumed fish more frequently (97% more) than did households without ponds. However, weight-at- height regressions and body growth data were not significantly different between children from households with or without ponds. Health of children evaluated using details on stunting and wasting indicated that there were no significant differences between households with or without ponds. However, children from our study groups averaged 19 percent underweight, 18 percent stunted, and 12 percent wasted. These values are quite low, compared to 2013 estimates for the entire country for underweight (28.8%) and stunted (40.5%), but not for wasted (10.9%) children. Household ponds promoted inclusion of fish in diets of children that may provide essential nutrition to promote healthy growth and development for children in the region.
How to Cite
This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/