Factors associated with malnutrition in children aged between 6-24 months in Luuka District
Byawaka, Jaffer Majugu
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The overall objective of the study was to assess the prevalence and factors associated with malnutrition in children aged between 6-24 months in Luuka District. The study utilized baseline secondary data from the Grand Challenge Communication project which was implemented by Makerere University School of Public Health whose aim was to prevent malnutrition among mothers and children under 24 months in Rural Eastern Uganda. From this study a total number of 364 children aged between 6-24 months were identified and their anthropometric measurements taken. The anthropometric measurements were converted into height-for-age, weight-for-height and weight-for-age Z-scores indices using STATA13. Bi-variable analysis using the Chi-square and multivariable analysis using the logistic regression were used to identify factors associated with malnutrition. Model diagnostic tests were also carried out to ascertain the appropriateness of the models fitted. According to the results 13.7% of the children were wasted, 49.7% stunted while 23.9% were underweight. Children who were not breastfeeding had 3 times higher odds of being wasted (OR=3.1, 95%CI=1.015, 7.405) and more than 2 times higher odds of being underweight (OR=2.2, 95%CI=1.076, 4.503). While children eating less than 4 food types had 59% higher odds of being stunted (OR=1.59, 95%CI=1.036, 2.435). Older children 13-24 months had 58% higher odds of being stunted as compared to the children aged 6-12 months (OR=1.58, 95%CI= 1.029, 2.436). Girls had 81% higher odds of being underweight as compared to the boys (OR=1.81, 95%CI=1.096, 2.979). The findings of this study suggest that malnutrition is still a potential problem in children aged 6-24 months in Luuka district. This calls for the need to encourage women to exclusively breastfeed children for six months and may be do complementary breastfeeding up to 2 years. There is also need to encourage feeding children with a balanced diet of more than four food types in order to curb underweight. Further studies can be conducted to explore other factors not studied.