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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Poor maternal education and low birth weight key predictors of malnutrition: a hospital based study
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
URL https://www.kemri.org/KASH/ojs-2.4.8-1/index.php/KCAB/article/view/32
Abstract
Background

Though prevalence of malnutrition seems declining worldwide, it remains a challenge in most developing countries. In Kenya, prevalence of stunting declined from 35% in 2009 to 26% in 2014 but there exists large disparity across the country. Previous studies showed increased rates of malnutrition in informal settlements. Mbagathi Hospital draws most of its clientele from the neighboring informal settlements of Kibera, Dagoretti and Embakasi making it an ideal site for the study.

Methods

Hospital based cross-sectional study was conducted at Mbagathi Hospital to assess prevalence of malnutrition among children aged 6 to 24 months. A total of 300 mother/guardian and child pairs were enrolled in the study. Height and weight measurements were taken for every child and socio-demographic data obtained from mothers/guardians. Anthropometric data was analyzed using WHO Anthro2006 software and socio-demographic data Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS).

Results

Overall, prevalence of wasting was 15.3%, with 4.7% of the children severely wasted, underweight was 22.0%, of whom 7.0% severely underweight and stunting was 14.3%, with 3.7% severely stunted. Prevalence of underweight was significantly higher among boys (28.1%) than girls (15.6%) (p=0.018). Low birth weight and mothers perception of child health status were significant predictors of malnutrition (p<0.05). In addition, poor maternal education and family income ≤Ksh. 20,000 were strongly associated with high rates of malnutrition (p<0.000).

Conclusions

The study has pointed to the high prevalence of malnutrition among study children. The results are consistent with other studies where marginalized population are vulnerable to malnutrition. Efforts to intensify maternal education and devise strategic nutritional interventions targeting children attending Well Baby Clinics would have significant impact on malnutrition. Further study on how health professionals can exploit maternal perception of child health status as strategy for prompt intervention is necessary.

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