Feeding methods and anthropometric indices of peri urban Nigerian infants: results of a cross-sectional study
Background: The impact of inappropriate infant feeding practices on nutritional status and subsequent poor growth and development of the child with elevated risk of developing non-communicable diseases later in life cannot be overemphasized.
Objective: This cross-sectional baseline study evaluated the infant feeding methods of mother within the first 6 months and anthropometric indices of infants in peri urban community of Enugu state, Nigeria.
Methods: A cross sectional study design was adopted; 8 hospitals out of 65 and 600 mother-child pairs were selected using multistage sampling technique. A structured questionnaire which elicited background information, knowledge and practice of breastfeeding, attitude towards exclusive breastfeeding and feeding methods of infants within the first 6 months; the infants hospital records and anthropometry were used to collect data. The weight and length of infants were used to derive anthropometric indices which were compared with the standard. Descriptive analysis was done using SPSS, version 21 and ANOVA used to compare the means at p < 0.05 level of significance.
Results: About 54% of the respondents, initiated breastfeeding after 30 minutes but within 24 hours of delivery, 50.7% practiced exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) while 16.0% formula fed and 42.5% gave water. Some (21.5%) of the breastfed infants were stunted, also were 13.1% and 28.1% formula fed infants and mixed fed infants, respectively. Forty-eight percent of the EBF infants were wasted while 11.5% and 14.6% of the formula and mixed fed counterparts were obese and overweight, respectively.
Conclusion: The study revealed prevalence of stunting, wasting, obesity and overweight among the children. These could be attributed to poor infant feeding practices and could be alleviated through behavoural change communication of the mothers.
Keywords: Feeding practices, anthropometric indices, infants