Complementary Feeding Practices, Morbidity and Nutrition Status of Children Ages 6-23 Months in Kuria West, Migori County, Kenya
Nyakundi, Lennah Nyatichi
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The nutrition status, health and survival of children 6-23 months of age are enhanced when a child is fed in accordance with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) feeding recommendations. Gender disparities in socio-economic status and cultural practices contribute to high rate of morbidity and mortality of infants and children of ages 6-23 months. This study purposed to determine the relationship between complementary feeding practices, morbidity and nutrition status of children ages 6-23 months in Migori County. This study used a cross-sectional analytical study design on 217 mother-child pairs selected using systematic random sampling from two locations. A researcher-administered questionnaire, focus group discussion guide and key informants interview guide were used to collect data. Data was entered and analyzed using SPSS version 20. Dietary diversity was assessed with 24-hour recall and 7-day- food frequency questionnaire. The 24-hour recall was analyzed by use of Nutri-survey computer software. Data on anthropometry was analyzed using ENA for SMART and WHO 2006 growth standards cut offs was used to determine the nutrition status of children. A P value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Qualitative data was arranged in general categories identified in the discussions and common themes established. The mean age of the respondents was 27.2±5.99 years and most of them (65.6%) falling between ages 20 to 30 years. Majority (88.1%) were married, (54.2%) completed primary level of education and subsistent farmers (33.3%). Majority (84.8%) of the breastfed children attained the minimum meal frequency unlike the non-breast-fed children (10.7%). Over half (63.2%) of the children met the recommended minimum dietary diversity with the most commonly consumed food groups being grains, roots and tubers (99.5%) then dairy products (80.1%). Barely 32.3% of children met the minimum acceptable diet. Over half (61.7%) of the children had been sick within the recall period of whom 57.2% sought medical assistance. Acute respiratory infections were the most commonly reported illnesses (28.0%). Under-nutrition by Z-scores was indicated by stunting (28.9%), underweight (9%) and wasting (5.5%). Underweight was associated with socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics such as main source of income (p=0.003), husband occupation (p=0.010) and household income (p=0.045). Minimum acceptable diet was associated with maternal level of education (p=0.027), main source of income (p=0.003), average monthly income (p=0.005) and child’s age (p=<0.001). Complementary feeding and nutrition status were also found to be associated: underweight was associated with minimum dietary diversity (p=0.043), and minimum acceptable diet (p=0.048). Morbidity and nutrition status were associated such that stunting was associated with morbidity (p=0.024). Though most of the children (67.7%) did not meet the minimum acceptable diet, the presences of illnesses also were found significantly associated with severe stunting implying prolonged nutrition deficiencies. The study recommends use of behaviour change communication approach to emphasize on the importance of minimum meal frequency and dietary diversity.