Nutritional Status and its Association with Breastfeeding and Complementary Feeding Practices Among Children visiting Tertiary Care Health Centre
Keywords:Breastfeeding, Children, Complimentary feeding, Infants, Malnutrition, Nutrition
Objective: To assess the nutritional status of children (up to 2 years of age) visiting the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) Karachi and to determine its association with breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices.
Study Design: Cross-Sectional Study.
Place and Duration of Study: Outpatient Department, National Institute of Child Health, Karachi Pakistan, from Jan to Jun 2021.
Methodology: Children aged 1 to 24 months were included. Demographic information, weight, height, weight for height and grade of malnutrition using WHO criteria were checked and categorized as median, -1S.D, -2S.D, -3SD and -4 SD. Face-to-face interview with the mother was conducted using a semi-structured questionnaire based on WHO Infant and Young Child Feeding guidelines to find out the breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices of the mother.
Results: A total of 355 children were enrolled with a mean age of 9.18±5.90 months. Median SD was attained by 65(18.3%) children, 177(49.9%) infants lied within -1SD(mild malnutrition), 77(21.4%) within -2SD(moderate malnutrition) while 36(10.1%) had severe malnutrition including 26(7.3%) within -3SD and 10(2.8%) within -4SD. Exclusive breastfeeding for up to 6 months had a significantly lower frequency of severe malnourishment (p-value<0.001). Complimentary feeding practices, including the age of initiation, dietary diversity and food frequency, also had a significant association with nutritional status (p-value<0.01).
Conclusion: Inappropriate breastfeeding and complementary feeding lead to poor health and malnutrition. Exclusive breastfeeding till six months and the introduction of complementary feeding on time with adequate diversity and frequency are critical to the infant’s health.