Assessment of nutritional status and feeding practices of children aged 0-24 months in Ikwuano local government Area Abia State, Nigeria
Oguizu, AD, Utah-Iheanyichukwu C, Ifendu AN
Introduction: Nutrition plays an important role in the health and development of children. Adequate nutrition during the first two years of life is important to ensure optimal growth. Objective: This study was carried out to assess the nutritional status and infant feeding practices of children aged 0 – 24 months in Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State. Methods: 283 children were randomly selected from households, churches and health Centers in Ikwuano Local Government Area. A validated questionnaire was used to obtain information on child’s data, socio–economic characteristics of parents, infant feeding practices of mothers and 24 hours dietary recall. Anthropometric measurements of the children were taken and compared with WHO reference standard. Data obtained were subjected to statistical analysis using statistical package for social sciences version 17. Results: the results showed that majority (51.6%) of the children studied were females while 48.4% were males. About 28.2% of the children were within the range of 1 – 3 months while 11% were within the range of 22 – 24 months. The result on feeding practices showed that majority (71.1%) of the mothers gave their children breast milk only, after birth while 13.1% gave breast milk and water. About 29.3% mothers exclusively breastfed their infants for 6 months. About 39.8% introduced complementary foods after 6 months. An evaluation of anthropometry showed that 5.3% of the children were wasted, 11.4% were underweight while 33.4% were stunted. Conclusion: Poor feeding practices affected the nutritional status of children especially stunting.