The Effects of Water Quality on Growth in Children on Kenya's Nyakach Plateau
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Poor water quality is one of the many problems that affect developing nations and contributes to the virtually inescapable cycle of poverty in which the world’s impoverished are trapped. Straw to Bread, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization based in the United States, has attempted to mitigate this issue among the Luo people of the Nyakach Plateau in Kenya’s Nyanza Province by installing rainwater collection tanks in poor households. The present study was conducted to evaluate the relationship between the use of these tanks and Body Mass Index (BMI) among children on the Plateau. Measurements were taken on site from children with tanks and without tanks in May, 2013. Other data were collected via survey from the head of each household. Ultimately, it was demonstrated that, after adjusting for environmental factors, age, and sex, there was a positive dose-response relationship between water quality and BMI in girls (R2=0.47, p<0.0001) but not in boys (R2=0.10, p=0.4970). While further investigation is needed to understand this discrepancy, the results of this study demonstrate the importance of clean water access in underserved populations and will guide the continued intervention of Straw to Bread in the area.