Nutritional Status and Associated Feeding Practices among Children Aged 6-24 Months in a Selected Community in Sri Lanka: A Cross Sectional Study
European Journal of Preventive Medicine
Volume 3, Issue 2-1, March 2015, Pages: 15-23
Received: Dec. 6, 2014; Accepted: Dec. 30, 2014; Published: Feb. 12, 2015
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Authors
Nishani H. Ubeysekara, Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, Matara, Sri Lanka
Renuka Jayathissa, Nutrition Division, Medical Research Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Champa J. Wijesinghe, Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, Matara ,Sri Lanka
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Abstract
Background: In Sri Lanka, nutritional indicators are static compared to other health indicators. Under nutrition among children less than five years remains a common public health problem. Poor nutritional status of children is associated with various factors which are preventable. Purpose of this study was to determine the nutritional status of children aged 6-24 months in a selected health unit area and to describe the associated feeding practices. Methods and materials: A cross sectional study was conducted among mothers of 428 children attending 24 randomly selected field weighing posts in Akuressa health division, for routine growth monitoring. Nutritional status of the children was assessed with anthropometric measurements and WHO growth charts. Other data were collected using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Results: Prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight in the sample was 17%, 17.1% and 21.3% respectively. Mean age of exclusive breast feeding was 5.8 months and prevalence of exclusive breast feeding for 6 months was 88.8%. Mean age of starting complimentary feeding was 6 months and majority (75.5%) started semisolids as the first food. A majority (75.8%) of the mothers practiced proper feeding during infections. Wasting was significantly associated with male gender (p<0.01), increasing age of the child (p<0.05) and late introduction of fat and oils into the diet (after 8 months of age) (p<0.001). Underweight was associated with male gender (p<0.001), increasing age (p<0.05) and late introduction of fat and oils into diet (after 8 months of age) (p<0.05). Stunting was only associated with male gender (p<0.05). Conclusion: Under nutrition among children is common in this age group. Some of the feeding practices are associated with poor nutritional status and these practices should be improved with effective interventions.
Keywords
Stunting, Wasting, Underweight, Sri Lanka
To cite this article
Nishani H. Ubeysekara, Renuka Jayathissa, Champa J. Wijesinghe, Nutritional Status and Associated Feeding Practices among Children Aged 6-24 Months in a Selected Community in Sri Lanka: A Cross Sectional Study, European Journal of Preventive Medicine. Special Issue: New Frontiers of Public Health from the Pearl of Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka. Vol. 3, No. 2-1, 2015, pp. 15-23. doi: 10.11648/j.ejpm.s.2015030201.14
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