Complementary feeding practices and nutrition status of children aged 6-24 months attending maternal child health clinic at Embu county and referral hospital, Embu County, Kenya
J Mukundi, I Nthiga, M Wanjiru, A Okello
Complementary feeding practices include the introduction of solid and semi-solid foods at the age of 6 months and a gradual increase in the amount of food given and frequency of feeding as the child get older. In Kenya, inappropriate complementary feeding practices contribute to more than 10,000 annual deaths for children under five years. Nutrition status is the condition of the body as influenced by utilization of nutrient taken. Under five malnutrition rates in Kenya are 26% stunting, 4% wasting and 11% underweight. The study determined the complementary feeding practices and nutrition status of children aged 6-24 months attending maternal child health clinic at Embu County and Referral Hospital. A cross-Sectional Descriptive Study was conducted, purposive sampling was used to select the study location. The study sample (n=61) was chosen using the systematic sampling method. Dietary practices in the study were the time for the introduction of complementary foods, amount of food given and frequency of feeding while nutrition status measures included the weight for height to indicate the level of wasting, height for age to indicate the level of stunting. Maternal child health clinic at Embu County and Referral Hospital, Embu County, Kenya. Sixty oneMothers/caregivers with children aged 6-24 months. Almost half (45.9%) of the children were introduced to complementary foods at 6 months, 42.6% before six months and 11.5% after six months. 3% of the children aged 6-8 months consumed 2-3 tablespoons of food per feed, 70.5% of children aged 9-11 months consumed half a cup per feed and 24.6% of children aged 12-24 months consumed ¾ of a cup per feed.78.9% of the children aged 9-24 months were fed 3-4 times in a day, 21.1% of children aged 6-8 months were fed 2-3 times in a day. The majority (91.7%) of children had normal weight for their height, 4.5% were moderately wasted and 3.8% were severely wasted, 90.1% of children had normal height for their age and 9.8% were moderately stunted. The study found sub-optimal complementary feeding practices among mothers/caregivers with children aged 6-24 months. Also, in cases of acute and chronic malnutrition were above the acceptable level. Health education and counselling to the mothers/caregivers on optimal complementary feeding practices should be the main intervention.