South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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Relationship between child development and nutritional status of under-five Nigerian children

Adenike Oluwayemisi Jimoh, Jane Oowo Anyiam, Alhassan Mela Yakubu


Introduction: Nutrition is a major factor that can have long-term effects on the brain’s structural and functional capacity. The interplay between nutrition and child development cannot be overemphasised, especially in developing countries.

Objectives: The study aimed to assess the nutritional status of under-fives and determine the relationship between the nutritional status and their developmental quotient.

Methodology: A cross-sectional study was undertaken involving 415 under-fives aged 6–59 months in selected pre-schools and immunisation centres. Developmental assessment was done using the Schedule of Growing Skills II. The nutritional status was assessed using the WHO growth charts for weight-for-age, weight-for-height and height-for-age. Chi-square and odds ratio with 95% confidence interval were used to determine the association between nutritional status and selected developmental domains.

Results: The mean age was 32.6 ± 15.9 months. The male to female ratio was 1.2:1. The overall prevalence of developmental delay was 35.4%, with manipulative domain accounting for the highest delay (25.8%). The prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight was 9.1, 3.8 and 3.8% while 2.2% were overweight. Weight-for-age had a significant association with the hearing and language domain (OR 3.25, 95% CI 1.09–9.72, p = 0.036,) and interactive social domain (OR 5.0, 95% CI 2.0–13.0, p = 0.001).

Conclusion: The nutritional status of a child has an effect on certain developmental domains of that child. Interventions to improve the nutritional status of under-fives will go a long way to facilitating the development of this group of children.

Keywords: child, developmental delay, developmental quotient, nutritional status, under-fives, Nigerian
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