Author : B. Saleem, ad


ad B. Saleem

The Medical Journal of Basrah University, Volume 24, Issue 1, Pages 33-44
DOI: 10.33762/mjbu.2006.46415

This is a cross-sectional study done in Basrah governorate during the period from the 1stof April to the
end of August 2005, in two primary health care centers to identify feeding patterns for children 6-24
months of age, types of complementary foods given to these children and association with the studied
children nutritional status. A total of 428 children were recruited in this survey; 205(47.9%) boys and
223(52.1%) girls. The majority of surveyed children (386 children, 90.2%) were receiving complementary
foods alone or in combination with other forms of feeding like bottle or breast-feeding. Only 42 children
(9.8%) have never been given complementary food. Breast-feeding was given alone or in combination
with complementary food or formula feeding in 281 child (65.6%) of the sample. About 15.1% of the
studied children were moderately stunted and 9.4% were severely stunted. Severe stunting was most
common at the 19-24 month age group. From the total surveyed children, 5.1% were severely wasted and
15.6 % moderately wasted. There was a significant positive correlation between stunting and age. Both
stunting and wasting show a statistically significant increase with age. Stunting was increased with
increase in age more than wasting which also increased with age but to a lower extent. There was a
significant negative correlation between parental education and malnutrition especially stunting as an
increase in educational level was associated with a lower proportion of stunted children. For both
parents, those who were illiterate or achieved only primary school education represent near half of the
total number of families in this survey. Increase in both parental educations was associated with a
significant improvement in frequency of different diet administration. About 37.7% and 17.3% of the
surveyed children had two or three other siblings aged less than five years respectively. 63.1% of
children were given drinking water without sterilization. Complementary food administration is
positively correlated with age and negatively correlated with malnutrition. Administered foods were
mainly in the form of low energy density food and were low in animal protein. Those children offered
complementary foods less frequently are more likely to be malnourished. On the other hand, children
who were breastfed were less likely to be malnourished even if complementary foods were not given.
This nutritional survey has provided useful information about nutritional problems for children 6-24
months. Malnutrition affects a significant proportion of children from (6-24) months of age. Possible
contributing factors include: lack of parental education especially among mothers, poor socioeconomic
status of families and use of unsterilized water for drinking. Complementary foods administered to these
children consist mainly of low energy density and low animal protein diet. Breast-feeding continues to
be a very important as it protects against childhood malnutrition even after 6 months of age and through
the second year of life.