Complementary Feeding Practices And Nutrition Status Of Young Children 06-23 months of Age in the Kassena-Nankana District, Upper East Region, Ghana

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Malnutrition is responsible globally for 60.0% of deaths among children under 5 years and is often attributed to suboptimal feeding practices. The objective was to assess complementary feeding practices among young children 06-23 months of age and their nutritional status. Hypothesis of the study was to identify if there is an association between early introduction of complementary foods (before 6 months of age) and the nutritional status of children 06-23 months of age in the Kassena-Nankana District, Ghana. A cross sectional household study was conducted in the Kassena-Nankana District, 379 children and mothers/caregivers were selected using a multistage sampling method. Complementary feeding practices of young children and nutritional status of both mother/caregiver and child was assessed. The study also assessed mothers’ knowledge on complementary feeding. From the study, 61.2% of the children were timely introduced to complementary foods (6 months of age) and 96.3% of the children were still breastfeeding. The prevalence of child undernutrition among the children was as follows: stunting (HAZ <-2 z scores) was 15.6%, underweight (WAZ <-2 z scores) 15.3% and wasting (WHZ <-2 z scores) 8.7%. Prevalence of maternal malnutrition was 10.3% (BMI<18.5kg/m2), overweight was 12.4% (BMI>18.5-≤30.0-kg/m2) and obese was 2.4% (BMI>30.0kg/m2). This is a measure of the double burden of malnutrition in the district. There was no association between early introduction of complementary foods before six months and child undernutrition based on univariate analysis (unadjusted). There was no statistically significance when the children were compared using complementary foods introduction time and child undernutrition: stunting was (<6 months of age: OR=0.70, 95%CI=0.31-1.59, P=0.400), underweight (<6 months of age: OR=1.04, 95%CI=0.48-2.23, P=0.920), and wasting (<6 months of age: OR=0.65, 95%CI=0.21-1.96, P=0.442) of infants and young children. A significant association (adjusted odds ratio) was found between stunting and age (6-8 months, 9-11 months and 18-23 months), primary level of maternal education, female sex, whilst underweight was associated with age (6-8 months, 9-11 months and 18-23 months), divorced/separated marital status, Nankam/Frafra tribe, primary level of maternal education, and female sex. Wasting was associated with only female sex. There was high frequency (38.8%) of inappropriate complementary feeding practices in the district. Though there was no association of child malnutrition and early introduction of complementary foods this relation does exist and could be found in a similar survey.
Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Award of Master of Public Health (MPH) Degree in Population and Reproductive Health By Martin Nyaaba Adokiya April, 2010