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Risk Factors for Malnutrition among Children 5-years and Younger in the Akuapim-North District in the Eastern Region of Ghana

Author(s): Alex Kojo Anderson

Journal: Current Research Journal of Biological Sciences
ISSN 2041-076X

Volume: 2;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 183;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Ghana | malnutrition | preschool children | stunting | wasting

Malnutrition remains a significant public health problem in developing countries. The aim of thisstudy was to identify risk factors for malnutrition among preschool children in the Akwapim-North District inthe Eastern Region of Ghana. This was a cross-sectional study. Mothers who brought their children to the “WellBaby Check-up” clinics were invited to participate. Anthropometric measurements (weight and height/length)and blood hemoglobin were measured. Mothers also completed a questionnaire consisting of closed andopen-ended questions. A total of 305 pre-school-age children were included in this study. Of this sample,43.3% were males, and 56.7% were females. The prevalence of wasting, stunting, and underweight was 6.2,11.4 and 7.3%, respectively. The majority of the children (80.7% ) were anemic. Children who wereexclusively breastfed for 6 months showed slightly lower prevalence of both anemia (75.5% vs. 89.0%) andstunting (8% vs. 13%) but not wasting (8.3% vs. 4.3% ) or underweight (8.3% vs. 5.2%) compared to theirmixed feeding counterparts. Children under 12 months of age showed a higher prevalence of wasting (9.4%)compared to other age groups. Children from homes with electricity showed lower prevalence of stunting(9.7% vs. 17.6%, p = 0.050), and children from households with a radio showed lower prevalence of wasting(5.3% vs. 19.0%, p = 0.033). Nutrition education encouraging exclusive breastfeeding and adequate provisionof animal protein to preschool children is important in semi-rural and farming communities in developingcountries such as Ghana in order to combat the prevalence of childhood malnutrition (stunting, wasting,underweight and anemia).
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