Malnutrition in the Under-Fives: Assessment of the Knowledge and Practices of Mothers in its Prevention

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Authors : Bodzewan Fonyuy


Introduction: According to the WHO, malnutrition remains the biggest contributor to child mortality with 6 million children dying from hunger each year. In 2010, protein energy malnutrition was estimated to have resulted in 600 000 deaths from 883000 deaths, in 1990 another 8400 deaths resulted from iodine and iron deficiency.

The general objective of the study was to find out if mothers of the under-fives leaving in the Bamendakwe Health Area are knowledgeable of the preventive measures against malnutrition.

Materials & Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional design was employed in which a structural questionnaire was used for the collection of primary data from a sample of mothers with under-five children on their knowledge in the prevention of malnutrition.

Results: Results obtained show that feeding a child with a balanced diet will help prevent malnutrition in children less than 5 years.

Discussion: Mothers lacked the means to prevent malnutrition, lacked the knowledge of different foods to feed the child to prevent malnutrition. Ignorance and poverty are associated with malnutrition; according to Kammann (2003), ignorance, lack of adequate funds, unemployment leads a deficit in the means to purchase the right kind of foods rich in proteins.

Conclusion: Malnutrition remains a serious paediatric problem in the under-fives as mothers’ deficit on balanced dieting can result to malnutrition.

Key words: Malnutrition, Marasmus, Kwashiorkor, Health education, Balanced Diets, Breastfeeding, Sanitation, Behaviour Change Communication


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