IYCF practices of adolescent mothers and nutritional status of their children aged 6-23 months in Iganga District, Uganda
Nabirye, Peace Doreen
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IYCF practices among children determine their nutritional status. It is important to practice the recommended feeding practices to prevent malnutrition and improve survival of children. The aim of this study was to identify the IYCF practices among adolescent mothers and nutritional status of their children aged 6-23 months in Iganga district. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 150 adolescent mothers aged 10-19 years with children aged 6-23 months from the different constituencies in Iganga district. A questionnaire was used to collect information on socio-demographic characteristics, nutritional status and IYCF practices. This study reported that most of the adolescent mothers (72%) were aged 18-19 years and 52.7% had attained primary level of education. Of the children born to adolescent mothers, 41% were stunted, 59.5% were underweight and 91.9% were wasted. Only 48.7% of the adolescent mothers initiated breastfeeding within one hour of birth and 42.7% exclusively breastfed for the first six months of the child’s life. The minimum meal frequency was met by 58% of the children. Very few children (19.3%) met the minimum dietary diversity score of ≥ 4 and half of the children (53.3%) did not eat any Vitamin A rich fruits and vegetables. Majority of the respondents (72%) drunk unboiled water and only 18% washed their children’s hands with clean water and soap before meals. The IYCF practices that were significantly associated with the nutritional status of children included breastfeeding practices (p=0.032), meal frequency (p=0.029), dietary diversity (p=0.008), and safety of drinking water (p=0.047). In conclusion, under nutrition is the prevalent form of malnutrition among children born to adolescent mothers and this is because of the poor IYCF practices among the adolescent mothers in Iganga district. This suggests that nutrition education should be given to adolescent mothers to improve their awareness about the IYCF practices and their importance.