Assessment of Malnutrition among Under-Five Children in Umuahia North Local Government Area Abia State, Nigeria

A.D. Oguizu, G.E. Nnate
Malnutrition; Assessment; Under-five children; Umuahia North L.G.A; Abia State; Nigeria.
Background: Malnutrition, the intake of an insufficient or surplus amount of nutrients is a significant public health burden with greater concern among children under five years.
Objectives: This study assessed the prevalence of malnutrition among under-five children in Umuahia North L.G.A, Abia State, Nigeria.
Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive design was used for the study. A multistage sampling technique was used to select 268 respondents for the study. Data on socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the under five children were taken. Anthropometric characteristics of the children were determined using validated questionnaires and standard procedures. The SPSS version 25.0 was used to analyze the data. Data obtained were described using frequency and percentage.
Result: The study showed that 52.6% of the children were females and had 1-2 siblings. About 65.3% of their mothers were between the ages of 20 to 29years and 57.1% had tertiary education. About 29.1% and 25.7% of the mothers were traders and housewives respectively. A quarter of the mothers (45.1%) earned less than 30,000 naira per month. More than half (56.3%) of the fathers were within the age range of 41 to 50 years, 98.9% were married, while 63.4% acquired tertiary education. About 42.2% of the fathers were self-employed and 36.6% earned between 31,000 to 50,000 naira per month. More than half (72.8%) of the households had 3 to 6 persons, few households (34.7%) had borehole as their major source of drinking water. About 89.9% of the households used water system, 60.8% of households allowed their children to feed themselves, 63.4% had healthy facility around their household, 38.1% lived in a two-bedroom flat. About 22.8% of the children had oedema, 30.2% had experienced anorexia, while 32.1% had apathy and 28.4% had lethargy. For Anthropometric characteristics of the children, 10.8% were underweight and 7.8% were overweight. About 17.2% of the children were stunted and 8.2% tall. About 9.4% were wasted, while 2.2% and 2.6% were overweight and obese respectively. Body mass index for age showed 9.4% were thin. About 14.9% were malnourished using their mid upper arm circumference.
Conclusion: This study observed the nutritional status of the children were moderately fair. Socioeconomic and demographic factors played a vital role in the nutritional status of children. There is need to strengthen the nutritional status of children in food insecure households.
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Received : 29 June 2023
Accepted : 30 August 2023
Published : 06 September 2023
DOI: 10.30726/esij/v10.i3.2023.103002

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