Dietary diversity and nutritional adequacy of under-fives in a fishing community in the central region of Ghana

Type Journal Article - BMC Nutrition
Title Dietary diversity and nutritional adequacy of under-fives in a fishing community in the central region of Ghana
Volume 3
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
Page numbers 2
The irreversible effect of malnutrition on children as a result of micronutrient deficiency is of great public health concern. Micronutrient malnutrition is caused by the chronic lack of vitamins and minerals in diets. Dietary assessment is one of the ways in assessing micronutrient malnutrition. This assessment provides information about the quality of food consumed in terms of nutrient adequacy of children under five years in Ekumfi Narkwa, a fishing community along the Central regional coastline using the dietary diversity assessment method.

A cross-sectional study involving 250 caregiver-child pairs was conducted. A pre-tested dietary diversity questionnaire was used to collect information on dietary consumption over 7 day period. The caregiver was asked whether the child had eaten foods from the seven (7) main food groups over the past seven days and the number of days they had consumed foods from each of the food groups. The individual dietary diversity score (IDDS) and minimum dietary diversity of the children in the community were calculated independently.

The main food group consumed daily was from flesh foods group 79.8% (namely; meat and fish consumption). Daily fish consumption was 78% (195 of 250), accounting for the high consumption of flesh foods. One-tenth of the children (27 of 250) consumed vitamin A rich foods daily. Almost half (118 of 250) of the children met the minimum dietary requirements with the average dietary diversity score of 2.28 ± 1.33.

The dietary diversity of children under five in Ekumfi Narkwa is low. Though the consumption of flesh foods was very high, that of fruits and vegetables especially Vitamin A rich plant source foods was poor. Health workers need to educate parents on the importance of ensuring their wards consume food from all the various food groups including fruits and vegetables which provide essential vitamins and minerals.

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