The impact of maternal nutrition education of nutritional status of children under five years old in Butere Division, Kenya.
Shihundu, Damaris Ashioya
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According to (Hadaad, 2002), maternal nutrition education has been observed as an important factor related to the nutritional status of children five years old. The purpose of this study was to find out whether maternal nutrition education had an impact on the nutritional status of children under five years in Butere Division, Kenya. Data were collected through oral interviews on one hundred mothers (N=100). This included 24-hour dietary recall. Qualitative assessment of nutritional status was done through clinical assessment of the child's physical features like hair, skin and eyes. Anthropometric measurements (height/length, weight and age) indicated the presence or absence of wasting and stunting among the children. Two groups of mother and child pairs (N=100) were selected for the study. Group 1 mothers (N1=50) were selected as they brought their children to the Maternal and Child Health clinic at Butere Health Centre for routine visits. Group II mothers (N2=50) were selected through two stage cluster sampling and they did not attend any Maternal and Child Health clinic. Data were analysed using frequencies and percentages. Spearman rho statistics was also used. The results were presented using descriptive and inferential statistics. Findings from the study objectives showed that, all mothers (N=100) had some form of nutrition education, low nutrition education was observed among 46% of the mothers. Basic concepts of nutrition education (food groups, balanced diets and methods of cooking) lacked among mothers, (Group 1, 48% and Group II, 42%). The level of education among mothers influenced the feeding practices used. The higher the education level attained by the mothers the better their acquisition and use of nutrition education (Group I, 46% and group II, 52%). Low income, preference to certain foods, food availability from the farm or market at the time was noted as major external set-backs to selecting and preparing food for the children. Formal school (90%), relatives and friends of the mother (Group I, 46% and Group II, 64%) were a good source of nutrition education. Spearman rho indicated that there was a relationship between formal school, maternal nutrition education, income and nutritional status of the children. The following recommendations were made: Mothers be directly involved in projects and policies related to the nutrition of the children <5 years old, a practical approach be adopted in teaching nutrition education and more studies be carried out with the view of increasing awareness and empowering women in nutrition education and better feeding practices of young children.