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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 61-64

Effect of maternal literacy on nutritional status of children under 5 years of age in the Babban-Dodo community Zaria city, Northwest Nigeria

Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Mu'awiyyah Babale Sufiyan
Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0331-3131.108110

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Background: Worldwide, about a half of mortalities in children are directly or indirectly attributable to malnutrition. In Nigeria, malnutrition has also been reported to be associated with increased morbidity and mortality, such that 30-40% of deaths in the preschool age group are associated with malnutrition. Therefore, assessing the factors attributing to malnutrition is central to reducing and preventing these high mortalities. One attributable factor to malnutrition is the level of maternal literacy. Objective: The study aimed to assess the effect of maternal literacy on the nutritional status of children under 5 years of age in Babban-dodo, Zaria, Northwestern Nigeria. Methodology: A cross-sectional descriptive study of 300 children aged less than 5 years and their mothers/caregivers was conducted, using a multistage sampling technique. The study involved collecting information on the sociodemographic characteristics of the respondents and the anthropometric measurements (weight, height, mid-upper arm circumference) of the eligible children. The data were analyzed using statistical software SPSS 19.0 and Epi-Info version 6.0. Result: Out of the 300 children studied, 87 (29%) were found to have under weight, 21 (7%) were wasted, and 93 (31%) were stunted. The majority (65%) of the mothers/caregivers have no form of formal education. There was a significant statistical association between maternal literacy status and occurrence of malnutrition (specifically stunting) among the children studied. (X 2 = 26.2, df = 1, P < 0.05). Conclusion: Maternal literacy has a significant relationship with the nutritional status of children. Therefore, there is the need to promote and encourage female/girl child education in the communities in order to empower them to know the right type of food and the right way to give it in the right quantity. This will help to prevent the occurrence of malnutrition among children, especially those under the age of 5 years.

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