Influence of maternal nutrition knowledge, attitude and practices on nutritional status of children 6-59 months at Kenyatta national hospital, Kenya
According to UNICEF and WHO nutrition is a universal, crucial component that is recognized globally for the child to have a better health standard as stated in convention child‟s rights. Thus, women additionally have a right to access nutrition, decide on how appropriate to feed their babies on fulfilling information and better condition that will give them an opportunity to carry on with their decisions. In Kenya inadequate empirical evidence exists on the relationship between maternal nutrition knowledge, attitude, practices and nutritional status of children, it remains unclear whether mother‟s practical knowledge and attitude has an independent effect on child nutritional status. Furthermore the factors that influence translation of acquired knowledge into practice are not well understood. It is this problem that this study attempts to address. This was cross-sectional and comparative study. It was both quantitative and qualitative in nature. Ten wards out of ten in pediatric department were selected using exhaustive simple random sampling, while systematic random sampling method was used at the ward level to enroll mother-child dyad into the study. The data were collected at Kenyatta National Hospital 146 mother-child pairs. A pretested questionnaire designed to collect data on mother‟s maternal nutrition knowledge, attitude, practices and dietary diversity score related to child care and nutrition was administered to the mothers. Data on mother‟s demographic and socio-economic income characteristics as well as child anthropometric data were collected. Majority (52%) of the study population were not employed and had no any source of income, while (8.5%) had no formal education. Literacy levels was low among the caregivers with most (56.8%) not able to proceed with their education due to finances. Majority of mothers (55%) had more than three children compared to (45%) of mothers who had less than four children. The mean dietary diversity score of the children was 4.07±1.1 food groups. Majority (61.6%) of the children had high dietary diversity scores. Most of the caregivers (68.5%) had adequate nutritional knowledge while 31.5% had inadequate knowledge. The qualitative discussion revealed that inadequate house hold income and lack of enough food were major constraints to availability and utilization of complementary foods for their children. The mean maternal nutrition knowledge score of mothers was 9.46±2.26. From the respondents 31.5% had appropriate nutrition practices while 68.5% had inappropriate attitude with a mean score 2.99±1.72. In conclusion, factors that are significantly associated with the nutritional status of children include; age of child (p=0.000), number of children (p=0.002), education level (0.049), nutrition attitude (p=0.031), dietary diversity scores (p=0.031), nutritional practices (p=0.006). The study recommends intensive nutrition counseling and follow-up on mother‟s nutrition practices through capacity building in health facilities by creating awareness on the effect of poor dietary practices and negative attitude on children‟s nutrition status and associated health risks to improve nutrition positive attitude and appropriate dietary.