Prevalence of Malnutrition and Effects of Maternal Age, Education and Occupation Amongst Preschool Children Attending Health Centres in a Semi Urban Area of South Western Nigeria
Background: Protein Energy Malnutrition (PEM) remains a major public health problem in Nigeria to the extent that it is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality among children. Objectives: This study aims at determining the nutritional status of children aged between 6 and 59 months. Also the relationship between maternal characteristics (age, educational level and occupation) of the malnourished and well-nourished preschool children was assessed. Methods: - Using WHO\'s guideline for Z-score Height for Age, Weight for Height and Weight for Age, the nutritional status of 296 children whose ages ranged between 6-59 months was assessed. The subjects were recruited from three (3) randomly selected Local Government Areas of Ogun State. The relationship of the age, education and occupation of the mothers and the nutritional status of their children was ascertained. Results: One hundred and forty two (47.9%) children had one from of malnutrition. This was stunting, wasting or underweight. Twenty-nine (9.8%) were overweight. Children between the ages of 6-11 months had the highest risk for malnutrition. The age, education and occupation of the mothers did not appear to determine the nutritional status of the children. Conclusion: This study shows a high prevalence of stunting, medium wasting and underweight with no statistically significant difference in age, educational level and occupation of the mothers of malnourished and well-nourished children.
Keywords: Malnutrition, preschool children, maternal characteristics, Shagamu, Nigeria.
NQJHM Vol. 15 (4) 2005: pp. 179-183