Complementary Feeding Practices, Morbidity and Nutrition Status Among Children 6-23 Months Old In Babadogo Informal Settlement, Nairobi City County, Kenya
Mwaura, Joel Kiarie
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Complementary feeding is the process of nourishing a 6-23 months old child with solid, semi-solid and soft foods, in addition to continued breastfeeding for at least 24 months, to meet the increasing nutrition demands for growth and development. Scientific evidence shows that the prevalence of under nutrition and morbidity is high among children 6-23 months of age. However, there is limited information linking morbidity status and complementary feeding practices, to nutrition status among children 6-23 months old living in urban informal settlements. To assess the association between complementary feeding practices, morbidity and nutrition status of children 6-23 months old living in Babadogo informal settlement, Nairobi, a cross-sectional analytical study was conducted among 228 children and their caregivers. WHO standardized questionnaire was modified and administered to caregivers, at home, to collect information about complementary feeding practices and morbidity among their children. Nutrition status information was collected by taking anthropometric measurements of children. The anthropometric data was analyzed using ENA for SMART (2011) to categorize nutrition status according to WHO 2006 growth standards. The data on complementary feeding practices and morbidity was analyzed using STATA 11.0. Logistics regression was used to establish association between independent and dependent variables. The proportion of children introduced to solid, semi-solid and soft foods at the right time, was 85.7%. The rate of continued breastfeeding was 80.8% at one year, and 36.7% at two years. The minimum meal frequency was achieved by 79.4%, while minimum dietary diversity was achieved by 50% of the children. Consequently, the proportion of children who consumed a minimum acceptable diet was only 39.5%. The prevalence of undernutrition among the children 6-23 months old was high: 5.7% (95% CI: 3.2 – 10.0) were wasted, 29.4% (95% CI: 22.9 – 36.8) had stunted growth, while 12.3% (95% CI: 8.3 – 17.3) were underweight. Childhood morbidity was also high (46.5%) with major diseases being, acute respiratory infections (31.6%), fevers (25.4) and diarrhoea (13.2%). The children who did not consume a minimum acceptable diet (p = 0.002), those that did not meet the minimum dietary diversity (p = 0.014) and those who had stopped breastfeeding (p <0.001) were more likely to be stunted. Those who had not achieved the minimum dietary diversity (p = 0.007) and minimum acceptable diet (0.043) were more likely to be underweight. In terms of the association between morbidity and nutrition status, diarrhoea was a predictor of wasting (p = 0.001) and underweight (p = 0.046), while those who had fevers were more likely to be underweight (p = 0.027). The study observed a significant association between complementary feeding practices, morbidity and nutrition status among children 6-23 months old living in Babadogo informal settlement. It is recommended that messages on the promotion of child feeding practices focus on appropriate complementary feeding practices with particular emphasis on the consumption of a minimum dietary diversity, minimum acceptable diet and continued breastfeeding for at least 24 months.