Effect Of Some Maternal Dietary Practices On Neonatal Birth Weight In Rural And Urban Areas Of Ebonyi State, Nigeria
Njoku Helen. A.,Ene-Obong Henrieta. N. and Ejeagbasi, Clara. N.
1Department of Food Science and Technology, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State Nigeria
2Department of Biochemistry (Nutrition and Dietetics unit), University of Calabar. Cross River State, Nigeria
3Department of Home Economics, College of Education (Technical), Enugu, Enugu State Nigeria
Corresponding author: 1Helen Amaka Njoku; Phone: 08037745483; Email: [email protected]
Background: Maternal dietary practices and the resultant nutritional status is a major determinant of the pace and balance of foetal growth, with effects that have adverse consequence later in infancy and adulthood.
Objectives: The study assessed the effect of some maternal dietary practices on neonatal birth weight in Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
Material and Methods: The study involved 395 singleton babies delivered in five (5) randomly selected hospitals in the State. Anthropometric measurements of the neonates were taken at birth using standard methods. Data on maternal dietary practices (meal skipping, snacking habit, craving habit and food forbidding habit and other socioeconomic and socio-cultural information were obtained using Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and validated pretested questionnaire. The data obtained were analysed using appropriate statistics.
Result: The prevalence of low birth weight (LBW=<2.5kg) was 4.8%. There was a significant difference (P=0.03) in the prevalence of LBW between urban (8.5%) and rural (3.2%) neonates. There were no significant (P>0.05) difference in the meal skipping habits, snacking pattern and food craving of rural and urban mothers; however, there were significant differences in the reasons for these habits. Significantly (P<0.001) more rural (43.9%) compared to urban mothers (8.5%) forbid some foods. The 24-hour recall of foods consumed showed that 60% had eaten food from the starchy food group, 25% from the meat/legume group, 50% vegetables and 53% fruit group. These practices had no effect on birth weight except for cultural adherence to forbidden foods. More LBW neonates (11%) were found among mothers who forbid some food than those who did not (3.8%), indicating that cultural practices have detrimental effects on birth outcome.
Conclusion: This calls for intensive nutrition education by professional Nutritionists/Dietitians.