Nutrition Security of Households and Nutritional Status of Under-Five Children in Ife Central Local Government Area, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria
The study identified the factors influencing the nutrition security of the households in Ife Central Local Government Area (LGA). It further assessed the care and feeding practices of the under-five children and determined their nutritional status. This was with a view to determining the influence of household nutrition security on the nutritional status of under-five children. The study employed a descriptive cross-sectional design. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 423 mothers of under-five children and their children in the households using the multistage sampling technique. The instrument measured socio-demographic variables, household characteristics, child care and feeding practices and household food and nutrition security (based on adaptation of USDA Household Food and Nutrition Security Questionnaire Module). Anthropometric technique was used to assess the nutritional status of the children. Data were analysed electronically and summarized using descriptive (frequency and percentages) and inferential statistics (chi-square). Statistical significance was placed at p<0.05. The results showed that the mean age of mothers was 31±6.7 years while that of under-five children was 25±14.9 months. The prevalence of stunting, wasting, and underweight among the under-five children were 39.3%, 6.3%, and 14.1% respectively. Nearly all (99.5%) of the children were ever breastfed. Of these, 332 (80.62%) children were exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life, while 80 (19.4%) were breastfed exclusively for shorter periods. The children's feeding pattern based on mother-child 72 hours dietary recall leaned towards energy giving food (corn pap, rice yam flour etc) (45%); body building food (bean, fish, egg etc) were also offered regularly (37%) while protective food (orange, green veg., okro etc) were offered sparingly (8.24%). Fifty-three percent of the under-five were given cow milk or infant formula as a complementary diet. A majority (71.4%) of the children received all the appropriate vaccinations for their age. Sixty-five percent of the households were identified to be nutritionally insecure while only 35% were nutritionally secure as measured by food and nutrition security questionnaire module items. Heads of households who had completed at least secondary school (x2=24.215, p<0.05), who were professionals (x2= 52.766, p<0.05) and who had an average monthly income of more than N55, 000 (x2= 63.535, p<0.05) were significantly more likely to have households that were nutrition secure. Households that had access to tap water (x2= 44.907, p<0.05) and flushed toilet (x2=52.766, p<0.05) were also significantly more likely to be nutrition secure. There were significant increases in prevalence of malnutrition in households that were nutrition insecure. Mothers who ate less than desired because of insufficient finances were more likely to have stunted children (x2=8.362, p<0.05). Also, children who skipped or reduced meals because of insufficient finance were more likely to be wasted (x2= 16.970, p<0.05) and /or underweight ( x2 = 20.303, p<0.05). In conclusion, the prevalence of nutrition insecurity among households in Ife Central LGA was high and households that were nutrition insecure were more likely to have malnourished children. The factors influencing nutrition security of the households included household water supply, household sanitation facilities, education and occupation of the heads of the households as well as average household monthly income.