Nutritional status of preschool children in relationship with Maternal Nutritional Knowledge, Attitude and Practice

ABSTRACT

Background: Early childhood is the critical period during which diet and nutrition influence their proper physical growth and intellectual development. Malnutrition among children in developing countries remains to be a primary cause of illness and mortality. Objective: The aim of this study is to identify nutritional status of preschool children aged between 3 to 5 years and to determine the nutritional knowledge, attitude and feeding practices (KAP) of mothers.

Methods: A Descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted in the targeted study population of 244 preschoolers and their mothers from 3 selected government preschools in Yangon. Children’s weights and heights were assessed by using properly calibrated equipment. Mothers of those children were interviewed by using pre-tested semi-structured questionnaire to collect information related to nutrition knowledge, attitude and practices. In order to accomplish the research objectives effectively, output data of WHO-Anthro (3.2.2) software and SPSS 22.0 version (IBM Corp) had been transformed into Excel for presenting frequency tables, cross-tabulations and Chi-square tests.

Results: A total of 244 of mother-child pairs were included in the study. Among all children, 75% had normal weight for height. Moderate and severe wasting were 17.6% and 6.1% respectively whereas only 2 of the children found overweight, that was 0.8%. Similarly, 23.1% of children were moderately underweight and 5% were found severely underweight while 71.9% of the children weighed normal. In addition, 86.5% of children height were normal but 13.5% of children were stunted in which only 1.6% were found to be severe stunted and 11.9% were moderately stunted. Mother’s high and low levels of knowledge, attitude and practice were 43% versus 57%, 32.4% versus 67.6%, 41.8% versus 58.2% respectively. Maternal attitude and practice were significantly associated with growth of the children. There was no significant association between maternal knowledge and children’s nutritional status.

Conclusion: This study found out that maternal attitude and feeding practice had more influence on children’s growth than higher level of mother’s knowledge on nutrition.