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Impact of nutritional education on nutritional status of under-five children in two rural communities of south-west Nigeria

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Sule, S. S., A. A. Onayade, et al. (2009). "Impact of nutritional education on nutritional status of under-five children in two rural communities of south-west Nigeria." The Nigerian postgraduate medical journal 16(2): 115-125.

OBJECTIVES: This study evaluated the impact of nutritional education on knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) of mothers concerning infants and young children feeding and their children's nutritional status in two semi-urban communities of south-west Nigeria.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This is a community intervention study. We recruited 150 mothers of children aged 0-18 months independently from the intervention and control communities through a multi-stage sampling technique. We collected data with the aid of an interviewer-administered questionnaire at baseline and at six months after intervention from both communities to obtain information on feeding of infants and young children. In addition, we measured weights and heights of recruited children. Intervention involved group counselling of mothers and food demonstrations at designated health facilities. Data analysis for quantitative data was done using Epi-Info software, and for qualitative data, content analysis of major themes was used.

RESULTS: Before intervention, recruited mothers and their children from the two communities were comparable in terms of all the parameters assessed (P>0.05 in all cases). After six months of intervention, mothers who had nutritional education demonstrated better knowledge and attitudes to key infant and young children feeding recommendations. There was also limited improvement in feeding practices. Mothers from the intervention community exclusively breastfed their infants longer with mean age at introduction of complementary foods at 5.3 months compared to 4.5 months in the control community (P<0.05), breastfed their children longer (P<0.05). However, there was no statistically significant improvement in the weight of their children.

CONCLUSION: In this study, nutritional education of mothers only had positive impact on their level of KAP on infant and young children feeding.

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