Nutritional status of day care attendees in Port Harcourt metropolis
Objective: To determine the nutritional status of children aged 0-35 months attending day care centres in Port Harcourt metropolis.
Methodology: A cross-sectional descriptive survey approved by the University of Port Harcourt Research Ethics Committee, the parents, Authorities of Day care centres and National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, was carried out between November 2011 and July 2012 in 200 day care centres in Port Harcourt metropolis. The centres were selected using stratified multistage random sampling technique. At each day care 10 children (5 males and 5 females) selected randomly from those who met the inclusion criteria were recruited. With parental cooperation, each child's socio-demographic data, nutritional history and anthropometric measurements were obtained. Data were analysed using SPSS version 20. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05.
Results: Complete data for analysis were available for 1541 children aged 5-34months (mean 23.78 ± 7.04 months, median 25 months and modal 24 months) with 110(7.2%) children aged less than 12 months and 283(18%) less than 18 months. They consisted of 766 (49.7%) males and 775 (50.3%) females. Most children had normal nutritional status using the various indices but 46 (3%) children were underweight, 85 (5.5%) stunted, 109 (7.1%) wasted and 328 (21.3%) overweight. The mean Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) was 15.95 ± 1.698 cm with 29 (2%) children having MUAC below 115mm.
Conclusion: Majority of the day care attendees were well nourished. However, the high prevalence of overweight malnutrition is of serious concern in view of its associated long term morbidity and the need for effective interventions to reduce this risk.
Key Words: day care centres, under-fives, malnutrition, overweight, children.