Association between socio-economic factors and micronutrient intake (Iron, Zinc and Vitamin A) among children aged 6-59 months in Uganda.
Afidra, Olema Ronald
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Background: Three million and five hundred thousand children under five years old die each year as a result of malnutrition. Nearly 150 million children under the age of five in the developing world are under weight for their age. Two thirds of these children live in Asia and just over one quarter live in Africa. In Uganda, micronutrient malnutrition, especially of iron and vitamin A are major public health problems of which 38% of the children aged 6-59 months have vitamin A deficiency, while 50% are anemic. The objective of the study was to determine the association between socio-economic factors and micronutrient intake (vitamin A, zinc and iron) among children aged 6-59 months in Uganda. Methodology: Secondary analysis of a 24 hour recall sub-sample data collected from three regions of Uganda was done. The socio-economic factors of age, location, region and sex of the children, the type of work, education level, job (income status), and wealth quintile factors of the mothers/care takers were tested for significance (p≤0.005) using SPSS software. Backward regression analysis was carried out to determine the strength of relationship of nutrient intakes with socio-economic factors. Nutrient inadequacy was calculated using the cut-off method of 77% of required nutrient intake of the children. Results: The median nutrient intakes for children were 2,249.5IU and 739.8IU for vitamin A; 5.8mg and 6.9mg for iron; 3.1mg and 4.0mg for zinc in the rural and urban locations, respectively. There was significant association (P<0.05) of nutrient intake of vitamin A with the type of work, location, region, job and wealth quintiles. Iron intakes were significantly associated (p<0.05) with location, region, job and wealth quintiles. Zinc intake was significantly associated with location and region (p<0.05). Iron intake was strongly affected by region and location (urban and rural) with beta -170 and -0.282 respectively at (p-value of 0.001). Vitamin A intake in the rural was more significant than the urban at beta 0.246 (p-value 0.001). The zinc intake was strongly related with urban location and region (p<0.05) beta -0.239(p-value of 0.001). Iron and zinc intake inadequacy by region was highest in the Western (33.3%, 61.1%), Northern (23.7%, 50%) and Central (20.6%, 35.5%) Central region. Vitamin A intake inadequacy was highest for Central region (20.6%), followed by Northern (7.9%) and Western (5.6%) region. Children aged 24-49 months had inadequacy of 77% and 69.3% respectively for rural and urban location. Conclusions/Recommendations: Results showed that micronutrient intake of iron, zinc and vitamin A micronutrients is inadequate especially among children aged 24-49 months. The socio-economic factors of location (rural and urban) and region were the strongest predictors of children micronutrient intake. The findings therefore call for further strengthening of micronutrient interventions that target under five years of old children population within rural-urban Uganda in order to increase their nutrient intakes. Further research is needed to determine the usual nutrient intake among the children population within Uganda.