NUTRITIONAL STATUS OF UNDER-FIVE CHILDREN AND ASSOCIATED FACTORS IN OKEYINMI COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CENTRE, ADO-EKITI
The difference between food consumption and utilization determines the nutritional status of the individual. Efforts have been made nationally and internationally by governmental and non-governmental organizations to maintain normal nutritional status but poor nutrition remains a major link to diseases and reduced life-span. The study assessed the nutritional status of the under-five children using anthropometric measurements, found out the level of awareness of mothers about nutritional status of the under-five children, assessed the factors that influence the nutritional status of the under-five and found out the feeding practices engaged in by mothers of under-five children.
A cross sectional study was done to assess the nutritional status of the under-five. Sample size of 216 was determined using Leslie Kish (1965) formula. The respondents were selected using simple random sampling. Weighing scale, stadiometer, and Shakir’s tape were used to get data from the under-five children while a self-structured questionnaire was used to get data from the primary care givers/mothers of the under-five. Face and content validity of the questionnaire were ensured by the researcher’s supervisor and other experts in research and peadiatrics. The reliability of the questionnaire was ascertained using test re-test. A mean coefficient value of 0.74 was obtained which was considered high enough for the reliability of the questionnaire. Data collected were analyzed using Emergency Nutrition Assessment for Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transition (ENA for SMART) software and Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20. The research questions and hypotheses were tested through descriptive and inferential statistics.
Findings showed that low weight for age (underweight) affects 18.5% of the under-five, low height for age (stunting) affects 20.4% of the respondents while low weight for height (wasting) affects 13.4% of the under-five. Lack of awareness about the method of feeding the child properly, knowledge on the type of food and non-availability of nutritious food in the locality were found to be major factors affecting the nutritional status of the under-five. 73% of the primary care givers/mothers practiced exclusive breastfeeding. 43.1% practiced complementary feeding for 12-18months. There was significant association between the nutritional status and the age group of the child (F4,211=2.955, p<0.05) but there was no significant relationship between the nutritional status of the under-five and the socio-economic status of the primary care giver/mothers of the under-five (r=0.010, p>0.05).
There was need for frequent assessment and early intervention of the nutritional related problems of the under-five. The researcher recommended nutritional counselling by Nurses and Nutritionists for the primary care giver/mothers to reduce the prevalence of nutritional related problems, Nurses should take the lead role in educating mothers about the need for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and complementary feeding for 18-24 months and measures should be instituted by the government through provision of needed social amenities to curb the menace of nutritional related problems.
Keywords: Nutritional Status, Under-five Children, Anthropometric Measurements, Stunted, Underweight and Wasting.
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