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A Study of the Nutritional Status of Under-5 Children of Low-Income Earners in a South-Western Nigerian Community

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Author(s): A.M. Amosu | A.M. Degun | N.O.S. Atulomah | M.F. Olanrewju

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

Volume: 3;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 578;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Infant feeding practices | low-income earners | nutritional status | socio-economic status

ABSTRACT
This descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the nutritional status of children aged 6-59 months, of low-income earners in Ipokia local government area of Ogun state, Nigeria, in order to establish and provide baseline information on the health and nutritional status of the target group. Nutritional status was assessed using anthropometric measurements of height, weight, chest and arm circumference, and was compared with NCHS standards. Dietary assessment was based on weighed inventory method and 24 h recall obtained from their mothers. The nutrient intakes were compared with the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). A structured pretested questionnaire was utilised to gather information on the sociodemographic and economic characteristics, household food purchase and infant feeding practices of the children’s mothers. Anthropometric measurements of height and weight of the subjects were used in calculating weight-for-age, height-for-age and weight-for-height. Data was analysed using SPSS version 12.0. There were no significant differences between the males and females except for males having a significant higher Lean Body Mass (LBM) than the females. Using weight-for-age, 82.13% of the Under-5 children were underweight, 33.52% were stunted while 85.15% were wasted. The intakes of protein, iron, calcium and vitamin A were inadequate in both males and females. Majority of mothers of the children were uneducated (80.7%) and earned a paltry monthly income in the range of N1, 500-N5, 900. The findings show that the nutritional status of Under-5 children in the study location which happens to be a rural area, was quite poor. Also from the results, it is evident that malnutrition is still a major public health problem among young children due to the poor socioeconomic status (poverty and poor educational background) of their parents, and thus, there is a need for better nutrition of the Nigerian child.

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