Maternal factors and the nutritional status of children under five years in the Asante- Akim North Municipality

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Malnutrition is among the leading cause of deaths in children below age five in the developing countries. For MDG goal to be met, under five malnutrition is to be reduced to the barest minimum if not eradicated. The purpose of this study was to determine the nutritional status of children under five years and maternal factors influencing the children nutritional status in the Asante-Akim North Municipality. The Asante-Akim North Municipality was chosen because of increased child aneamia and mortality. In addition, the municipality is mostly rural with low socio-economic status of the people. The study was a community-based descriptive cross sectional design that collected data from 322 mothers with children under age five. Also, the anthropometric data (weight, height and age) of the children were taken. Data collections were done by the use o f questionnaire, weighing scale, tape measure and infantometer. The questionnaire solicited information from the mothers on child feeding practices, breastfeeding practices, child immunization status, mother’s education among others. A multi -stage sampling technique, comprising cluster sampling, simple random sampling and purposive sampling were used. Frequency counts, percentage analyses, and linear logistic regression analyses were used to determine the prevalence of under five malnutrition and the maternal factors influencing this malnutrition. The malnutrition status of the children was determined using the WHO Child Growth Standard 2000, 2006. The result indicated that out of 42.7% underweight under five children, 22.7% were boys with 20% being girls. Also, of 30.3% wasted under five children, 16.3% and 14.0% were boys and girls respectively. Moreover, out of 47.3% stunted under five children, 25.3% were boys while 22.0% were girls. vi Logistic analyses results showed that maternal education (χ 2 = 4.07, df = 1, p = .04; OR = .59) and income (χ 2 = 4.73, df = 1, p = .03; OR = .24) were significant in determining the height-for -age status of the children at C.I. 95%. In addition, breastfeeding status was a significant predictor of weight -for -age status (χ 2 = 9.44, df= 1, p = .002) at C.I. = 1.31-3.36 and height-for-age status (χ 2 = 14.34, df= 1, p = .001) at C.I. = 1.55-3.96 status but not weight-for -height status (χ 2 = .12, df = 1, p = .92) among the children under five years. There is a high prevalence of under five malnutrition with more boys being malnourished than the girls. Moreover, under five malnutrition is age dependent as the under five children grow older they turn to be malnourished more than younger ones. Moreover, exclusive breastfeeding, income are protective factors to underweight and/or being stunted among the under five children in Asante -Akim North Municipality. There is an urgent for the municipal assembly, regional directorate of health and the government of Ghana to embark on child health education among mothers in the municipality.
A thesis sumbitted to the Department of Community Health, College of Health Sciences in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Public Health in Health Education and Promotion,