Assessment of nutritional status and associated factors among children 6-59 months in Mpunge sub-county, Mukono district
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Background Nutritional status is a condition of the body influenced by the diet, the levels of nutrients in the body and ability of those levels to maintain normal metabolic integrity. Normal nutritional status among individuals is managed by the balance of food consumption and normal utilisation of nutrients. Objective The objective of the study was to assess the nutritional status and associated factors among children aged 6-59 months at household level in Mpunge sub-county, Mukono district to inform intervention prioritizing. Methodology This was a community-based cross-sectional study with a retrospective component that used both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Simple random sampling was done to select children aged 6-59 months from Mpunge Sub-county. Anthropometric measurements of children were taken and their dates of birth were recorded from their birth certificates which were used to determine their nutritional status. Semi-structured questionnaires and key informant interview guides were used to collect quantitative and qualitative data from mothers/caretakers and key informants respectively. Data was collected with Epicollect5 software and was downloaded and saved onto the computer. The anthropometric measurements were computed using WHO Anthro plus 2009 software to determine z-scores and percentiles which were compared with WHO (2006) child growth standards to establish the nutritional status of children. Thematic analysis was adopted to analyse qualitative data. Factors associated with nutritional status of children were established using multiple Poisson regression. Results The prevalence of wasting, stunting and underweight was 11.6%, 32.6% and 16.3% (n=344) respectively. The overall prevalence of malnutrition of Mpunge sub-county after scoring the nutritional status of children was 42.73% (n=344). Religion and tribe of mothers/caretakers, stopping period for breastfeeding and child death history in households were significantly associated with the nutritional status of children aged 6-59 months. Conclusions The prevalence of malnutrition (42.7%) among children below five years in Mpunge sub-county is unacceptably high. This is associated with region and tribe of the caretaker, child death history in the household, and stopping period for breasting. Therefore, the current findings serve to highlight the critical predisposing factors which may be prioritized for intervention by different actors. Recommendations 1. Since religion and tribe of mother/caretakers are associated with nutritional status, religious gatherings and tribal meetings are avenues for giving nutrition education and health education by health workers to promote the good nutritional status of children. 2. All mothers who are HIV negative who stop breastfeeding their children before the age of two years should be encouraged to breastfeed up to 2 years by health workers to maximize the benefits of breast milk. Mothers who are HIV positive should be encouraged to bottle feed their children after exclusive breastfeeding for at least 1.5 years. 3. Child death in households should be prevented by health workers through prevention of diseases and malnutrition by health educating and encouraging household members to maintain good household hygiene and sanitation, and giving quick response to child illness through seeking early treatment.