Nigerian Journal of Nutritional Sciences

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Infant feeding and anthropometric failure in infants (0–2 years) in Nsukka District of Enugu State, Nigeria

R.N.B. Ayogu, V.N. Ibeanu, H.N. Ene-Obong


Background: Prevalence of anthropometric failure among Nigerian infants is still high. Inappropriate infant feeding practices may be one of the major contributory factors.

Objective: The study assessed the anthropometric indices of infants (0 – 2 years) and infant feeding practices of mothers in
Nsukka district; and determined the relationship between these two variables.

Methods: This descriptive cross sectional study involved 240 mother-infant pairs who were randomly selected from three health facilities in Nsukka district. Data were collected through validated questionnaire and anthropometric measurements. Pearson correlation and Chi square tests were used to determine relationship between variables. Significance was accepted at P<0.05.

Results: Breastfeeding was initiated 24 hours after birth in 43.2%. Only 40.3% were breastfed on demand. Almost half (45.3%) of the mothers took palm wine to increase breast milk flow. About 39% introduced complementary foods within the first 3 months of life. Wasting, stunting, under weight and overweight affected 10.2, 21.6, 11.9 and 9.3%, respectively. More males than females were affected by wasting and stunting. Underweight affected more females than males. Duration of exclusive breastfeeding (P<0.01), when infants were mostly breastfed (P<0.01), foods consumed by mothers to increase breast milk flow (P<0.05), age of introducing complementary foods (P<0.001) and person that prepares infant's foods (P<0.05) were significantly associated with anthropometric failure.

Conclusion: Infant feeding practices were inappropriate and contributed significantly to the prevalence of anthropometric failure among the children. There is an urgent need to improve mothers' infant feeding practices through effective nutrition education.

Keywords: Feeding practices, stunning, wasting, underweight, infants

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