Association between feeding practices and the nutritional status of children 0- 24 months: a casestudy in Luweero District, Central Uganda
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Background: Childhood malnutrition is a significant health problem in developing countries and it has lifelong and irreversible effects especially if it occurs during the early stages of infancy. Care giving and infant and young child feeding practices are critical for child health and development. This study sought to determine the association between infant and young child feeding practices and the nutritional status of children 0-24 months and to identify barriers and supports to appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices (IYCF). Methodology: The study was cross-sectional survey of 230 households with children 0-24 months in Luweero district, central Uganda. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were employed to collect data on IYCF practices, children’s nutritional status, and barriers and supports to child feeding practices. A sample size of 230 households with children 0-24 months were visited and interviewed as determined by ENA for SMART. SPSS software (version 15) was used for data entry and analysis. Complementary feeding was characterized by the timing of introduction of complementary foods, age appropriateness of feeds, adequacy of feeding and quality of the complementary feeds. Results: The proportion of caregivers that were exclusive breastfeeding was very low (33.7%) and median duration of breastfeeding was 12.9 months. Despite early initiation of breastfeeding, caregivers still introduced other feeds before the recommended time. Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices were inadequate as reflected by the child feeding index what was the mean score. IYCF practices were significantly related to the stunting among children (χ2=0.526; p=0.029). Insufficient knowledge about infant and young child feeding and cultural practices were the major barriers to caregivers’ IYCF practices. Messages and practical support on IYCF practices often do not reach mothers. Recommendations: It is important to improve a communications strategy aimed at ensuring that all women have equitable access to accurate, clear, and consistent messages about age appropriate IYCF practices.