Determinants of nutritional status of children in farming households in Oyo State, Nigeria
This descriptive cross-sectional survey determined the influence of socio-economic, household and child-related factors on the nutritional status of children (0-5yrs) in farming households of Oyo State, Nigeria. The study was conducted using a multistage sampling technique to select 201 mother-child pairs from 18 farming communities in the state. Data were collected from the mothers, using a structured interview schedule and anthropometric measurements of their children were taken to determine the prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting. The data obtained were analyzed using frequency distribution, percentages, mean and standard deviation. Pearson Product Moment Correlation was used to determine the influence of the underlying determinants of nutritional status. The mean age of women was 35.75 years, while that of the children was 22.20 months. Majority (59.0%) of the women had between 5 and 8 children, 42.7% of the respondents were primarily farmers, while 57.3% combined farming with trading, agro-processing, artisan and paid jobs. The average farm size was 1.86 hectare. Women with some form of education constituted 70.7%, while 29.3% had no education at all. The most frequently consumed food items in the households (consumed at least 4 times a week) included bread (99.5%), cassava/cassava products, rice (98.8%), yam/yam products (89.6%) and meat (70%). Fruits were, however, not frequently consumed. Household food security data showed that 77.2% were moderately food secure while 9.9% were food insecure. Only 12.8% were food secure. The results indicate that the nutritional
status of children in the farming households in the study area was generally suboptimal. Overall stunting prevalence was 35.7%, underweight 14.9% and wasting 5.5%. Factors which were significantly associated with nutritional status of the children included age of child, frequency of breastfeeding, eating pattern of child, provision of snacks, household food security status, number of hours mother spends on childcare, mother’s use of health services, mother’s education, frequency and scope of travel of mother beyond the immediate locality and source of drinking water. It is recommended that the primary intervention strategies should be to address poverty among subsistence farmers’ households, promote sustainable livelihoods, and provide primary health care services which will in turn improve the nutritional status of children.
Key words: Children, anthropometry, nutrition, farming, households
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