Feeding practices and nutrient intake of under-five children in orphanages of Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria
Objectives: The objective of the study was to assess the feeding practices and nutrient intake of under-five orphans living in Abuja orphanages, so as to provide evidence based data for appropriate nutrition interventions for the orphans in Nigeria.
Methods: A cross sectional descriptive study was carried out on 200 under-five orphans, 96 males and 104 females aged 0-5 years living in ten orphanages in Abuja Nigeria. Feeding practices and nutrients intake of the children were assessed using questionnaires and weighed food intake techniques. The values obtained from nutrient intakes were compared with FAO/WHO recommended nutrient intake.
Result: The study revealed that none of the eligible children were breastfed rather they were feed infant formula. The underfive children generally met the mean daily energy, protein, iron, vitamin A, thiamin and riboflavin intake. However, zinc, calcium, niacin and ascorbate were below the recommended allowance. The study showed that most of the under-five children were feed infrequently as against the recommended frequency of meal feeds per day. The food intake was not adequate to meet most of the children's nutritional needs across various age groups. Nutrient deficiencies recorded in the study were associated with poor feeding practices, low caregiver to child ratio (1:5) as well as low socio-economic status.
Conclusion: The study shows that poor feeding of the under-five children led to protein energy malnutrition which is of public health importance in Nigeria especially for the orphans.
Keywords: Feeding practices, Nutritional status, Nutrient intake, Orphans