The Influence of Feeding Practices on Nutritional Status of Children (0-23 Months) in the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District of Ghana

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Adequate nutrition during infancy and early childhood is fundamental to the development of each child’s full human potential. This study aimed at determining the feeding practices in relation to nutritional status of children under two years in the Bibiani Anhwiaso - Bekwai District of Ghana. A cross sectional study was conducted on 369 pairs of children and mothers which were randomly selected in 2008. The nutritional status of the children was assessed using anthropometric measures such as Weight-for-Age (underweight), Height-for-Weight (wasting) and Height-for-Age (stunting). The breastfeeding and complementary practices of the mothers were examined. The relationship of these feeding practiced provided by mothers and the nutritional statuses of the children were analyzed using chisquare. It was revealed that 18.3% of the children were underweight, 17.0% were stunted and 6.0% were wasted. Close to 60% of the children (57.8%) were introduced late to the breast. Only 8.1% of the children less than 6 months were receiving exclusive breastfeeding. All the three indices of malnutrition were positively associated with the early introduction of complementary foods. About, 60.0% of children under 6 months were receiving bottle feeding. The children who were not being given fruits were 1.5 fold increased in risk of underweight. The feeding practices of most mothers were not as recommended by WHO. There is the need for the promotion of proper infant feeding practices in the Bibiani Anhwaiso district through Health Education.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies in Partial Fulfilment for the requirements for the award of Masters of Public Health (Mph) Degree In Health Education and Promotion Master of Science in Health Education and Promotion November, 2008