Reimagining nutrition education for pregnant adolescents in the face of climate change: A community approach

Fleur De Meijer, Mary Kimanthi, Susan Cheruiyot, Alex Makau Muia, Donnah Goga, Soulthy Azamkhan Mohamed, Cecilia Njoga, Catherine Gathu, Felix Agoi, Nelson Nyamu, Jacob Shabani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To explore challenges with current nutrition education for teenage pregnant women in a drought-prone community in Kenya and to elicit the communities' suggestions on how to best adapt it in the face of climate change. Design: Nine serial focus group discussions (four with adolescents, two with their parents, two with community health volunteers and one with healthcare workers) were conducted on a purposively selected study population in Kaloleni, Kilifi County, Kenya. Data collection took place between March and November 2022, with a total of 73 participants. An inductive approach was used, and interpretive thematic coding was done as the primary analytic strategy to allow themes derived from participants' reflections. Results: First, participants reported that unpredictable rainfall patterns had affected nutrition intake and variety due to reduced yield from farmland, diseases in livestock and insufficient income. Second, participants reported barriers to accessing nutrition education, as it was mainly given in clinics and not targeted at adolescents or men. Third, they experienced challenges in applying nutrition education in daily life due to a mismatch between available foods and cultural practices. Recommendations for the future encompassed equipping individuals with practical cooking skills tailored to available nutrients, initiatives aimed at water conservation and addressing animal health concerns, enhancing accessibility through community-based training programmes and fostering collaborative efforts to ensure the provision of essential nutrients. Conclusion: Food choices in Kilifi County are getting more limited due to unpredicted rainfall patterns. Therefore, a reorientation of nutrition education is needed in order to build resilience in the community. Strengthening community action, including developing skills to increase long-term local support, would be needed to ensure the adequate nutrition status of vulnerable groups like pregnant adolescent women.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000745
JournalBMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • climate change
  • community health
  • community oriented primary care
  • food insecurity
  • nutrition education


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