Title : Age of child predicted nutritional status in three rural communities in Cape Coast
Evidence has it that a child’s nutrition within the first thousand days of life is crucial for survival , development and growth. Prevalence of childhood undernutrition varies according to regions and socio-economic status of the family. In Ghana there exist under nutrition in all forms and over-nutrition. The study was conducted to assess the association between the socio-demographic background of the family, environmental characteristics and the nutritional status of children aged 0-59 months.
A mixed-methods approach which involved geographic boundary study, abstraction of census data was utilized to determine sampling frame. Children and mother pair within the age 0-5 years were sampled randomly and Amamoma, Apewosika and Kwaprow communities were sampled using cluster method that was proportional to size. A total of 120 households were sampled from the three communities. One child was sampled from each from the household. Data on water, and sanitation and socio-demographic were solicited from the mothers while anthropometrics was performed on the children. Data generated was converted to weight-for-height (WHZ), Height-for-age (HAZ) and weight-for-age (WAZ) Z-scores using WHO anthro version 3.2 Children whose Z scores fell below -2 Z score were categorized as either underweight, stunted or wasted. All data were later exported into IBM SPSS version 22 for analysis. Proportions were presented for the nutritional status indicators and later compared with maternal socio-demographics, environmental and water indicators using Chi square statistics
Most of the mothers were within the ages of 26-30 years and 75.0% of them were self-employed and 85.8% of the fathers also were self-employed. Public standpipe was available to 47.5% of households for drinking, 30.8% used flush/pour flush into septic tank toilet facility and 83.3% disposed their refuse by burning. Out of the 120 children sampled, were 48.3% males and 51.7% females. Stunting was most prevalent among males (29.3%) and females (22.6%) in all three communities. When prevalence of under-nutrition was viewed along the age-group spectrum, wasting and underweight (26.7 %) were highest among children with age range of 0-11 months, stunting was highest (62.9%) among 12-35 months, from 36-60 months it was still stunting but at a different prevalence (61.7%). A statistically significant association however was found between age of child in months and wasting (X2=23.2; P= 0.02). No statistically significant relationship was found between the water and sanitation of the household and the nutritional status of the children. Undernutrition existed among the children from birth and stunting is the most prevalent indicator among the three investigated. The age of a child was associated with type of undernourishment the child suffers from.