*Amadi Joy A.C1., Asinobi Chinagorom O1., Elo-Ilo Jacinta C2., Afam-Anene Olivia C1., Obiakor-
Okeke Philomena N1., Akujuobi Chidinma I1.
1Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Imo State University P.M.B. 2000, Owerri, Nigeria.
2Department of Pediatrics, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi Campus P.M.B.5001, Anambra State, Nigeria.
*Corresponding author email: [email protected] +2347030987007
Background: Many rural women have little or no knowledge of nutritive value of foods, and what constitute an adequate diet, as a result, most Nigerian families often depend on processed complementary foods low in nutrient density which contributes to growth faltering among infants. Objective: The study determined the anthropometric indices of the children and the nutritional knowledge of their mothers as well as evaluated the effect of nutrition education on the anthropometric indices of preschoolers.
Methods: A community-based longitudinal study using stratified sampling technique was conducted among 284 mothers and children within the age of six months to five years in Umuguma Owerri-West Local Government Area, Imo State. Data on nutritional knowledge of the mothers and anthropometric measurements were collected before nutrition education and evaluation was carried out on the same group after six months of applied nutrition education programme. Mothers were taught on formulation and preparation of complementary and family food both for their families and their preschoolers using demonstration method. The anthropometric measurements were processed using the WHO Anthro-plus software. Descriptive statistics was used in analyzing the data. Chi- square was used to determine the significance of difference. The decision criterion was placed at P<0.05.
Results: The study observed improvement in the women’s nutritional knowledge after nutrition education. The mean Z-Score of the children on anthropometric parameters was improved in both sexes but higher in female than male children after nutrition education. Prevalence of malnutrition present among the preschoolers (undernutrition and wasting) disappeared after nutrition education. Significant (P<0.05) associations was observed between mothers’ nutrition knowledge and preschoolers’ prevalence of wasting, stunting and underweight before nutrition education. But after nutrition education, there was no statistically significant (P>0.05) association between wasting, underweight and nutrition knowledge, though stunting had a significant (P<0.05) association with nutrition knowledge of the mothers.
Conclusion: Nutrition education improved the nutritional knowledge of the mothers which improved the nutritional status of their children.