Maternal health and nutritional status and Their association with nutritional status of Children (6-36 months) in slums of Mbarara Municipality, Uganda.
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Malnutrition is a multifaceted problem and among the underlying causes is maternal health and nutritional status. The high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Uganda is contributing to the increaseof malnutrition. The cross sectional descriptive study was aimed at establishing the relationship between maternal characteristics (maternal health and nutritional status and the nutritional status) of their children (6-36 months) in two settlements of Mbarara municipality , Uganda. Information was collected using a structured questionnaire, and included information on socio-demographic features, health status of the mother and child, and other maternal and household characteristics, as well as anthropometric measurements of both mother and child. Othermethods of data collection used, were observations and physical examination. Atotal of 333 mothers (with their children (6-36 months) were interviewed. Methods of data analysis used include chi-square, Pearsons' correlation and multiple regression. Underweight among mothers was found to be 7% and the obese were 29.1%. Underweight in children was 15%, stunting 32.8% and wasting was 2.1%. Maternal nutritional status was positively and significantly associated with underweight and stunting (p<0.05); it was also positivelybut not significantly associated with wasting (WHZ) (p> 0.05). Predictors of stunting in children (HAZ) were found to be maternal nutritional status, child immunisation status, household socio-economic status, and total education (of mother and household head). Predictions of under weight in children CWAZ) were total education (of mother and household head), maternal nutritional status (BMI), child immunisation status, and availability of maternal free time. Wasting in children (WHZ), was found to be predicted by only sanitation of the surroundings. There was no evidence to show that maternal ill health has a negative effect on child nutritional status. However, better maternal nutritional status had a positive impact on child nutritional status. It was recommended that programmes aimed at alleviating poverty so as to increase household income should be initiated and supported. Income availability will ensure accessibility to services, enable the mothers make independent and correct decisions regarding their health & nutrition and that of their children.