Background of the Study
Malnutrition is the underlying cause of one third of the 7.6 million child deaths each year before their fifth birthday (World Health Organization (WHO) 2009, every child should be well nourished for children are the leaders of Tomorrow. However, the reverse is the case when the children are unhealthy and malnourished, the future becomes bleak and hopeless (United Nation International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF, 2010).
Malnutrition is a state of being poorly nourished caused by defective quantity and quality of nutrient in the diet or by malabsorption. Also it is a condition caused by improper balance between what an individual eats and what he/she requires to maintain health (British Medical Association, 2008). Malnutrition is faulty nutrition resulting from malabsorption, poor diet or overeating (Medilexicon Dictionary 2010). Malnutrition which may manifest in different ways is so widely spread that it present a major problem within urban and rural communities. In America, over 40% of infants die of malnutrition (WHO, 2011).
According to the National Health Service (NHS), (2008), over 2 million people are affected by malnutrition. A recent surveillance conducted by UNICEF among children under 5 years of age in some local government areas in Lagos, Nigeria indicated that less than one-third of children had normal Weight for their age, about two-third were severely malnourished and over 75% young children were by WHO standard permanently stunt. Malnutrition is not limited to children according to Bender (2012) Malnutrition by implication is more than half of all children’s death worldwide, a proportion unmatched by an infectious diseases.
According Corrigan (2013), there is no standardized, validated, or universal accepted definition of the term “malnutrition.” According to National Health Service (NHS), UK (2013), Malnutrition is a serious condition that occurs when a person’s diet does not contain the right amount of nutrients. Malnutrition at an early age lead to reduced physical and mental development during Childhood. Stunting for example affects more than 141 million pre-scholars in developing countries. Iodine deficiency is the world’s greatest cause of mental retardation and brain damage (United Nations Standing Committee on nutrition. 5th report). Children of poorer group living in both villages and towns are mostly affected Gordian. 2008).
According to World Food Programme (2011) a malnourished person finds it difficult in doing normal things such as growing and resisting disease, physical work becomes problematic and even learning abilities become diminished in women, pregnancy becomes risky and they cannot become sure of producing nourishing breast milk.
Also, WHO (2009) stated that, although there are inequalities in child health survia1 but the level of knowledge on how malnutrition can be prevented in children especially by their parents is of paramount importance because thin treatment and if the parents lack knowledge which is the gamed through experience or education, on how to prevent this malnutrition are at risk (WHO, 2009).
When a person is not getting enough food or not getting the right sort of food. Malnutrition is just around the corner. Disease is often a factor either as a result
or contributory cause. Even if people get enough to eat, they will become malnourished if the food they eat does not provide the proper amounts of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals to meet daily nutritional requirements. (Food and Agricultural Organization, 2007).
Eliminating malnutrition involves sustaining the quality and quantity of food a person eats, as well as adequate health care and a healthy environment. World Food Program (WFP) helps fight malnutrition by treating it through giving malnourished people the food and nutrients they need. They also help in preventing malnutrition b helping improve the parents knowledge n exclusive breastfeeding for the first six (6) months of life, their knowledge n adequate nutrition, their knowledge on child spacing and their knowledge on proper hygiene in handling and preparing baby’s food goes a long way m preventing malnutrition.
Statement of the Problem
The immediate causes of malnutrition are an inadequate diet and disease. The
Manifestation of malnutrition is due to the difference between the amount of nutrients absorbed from food and amount of nutrients required by the body. This happens as a consequence of consuming too little food or having an infection, which increases the body’s requirements for nutrients, reduces appetite, or affects the absorption of nutrients from the gut. In practice, malnutrition and infection often occur at the same time. Malnutrition can increase the risk of infection, while infection can cause malnutrition leading to a vicious cycle. A malnourished child, whose resistance to illness is poor, falls ill and becomes more malnourished, which reduces his capacity to fight against illness. (Grijalvar, 2012)
Malnutrition prevents children from reaching their full physical and mental potential. The unavoidable health and physical consequences of prolonged state of malnutrition in children includes; delay in their physical growth and development, lower intellectual quotient, greater behavioural problems deficient social skills, susceptibility to contrary disease and these consequences has an implication on the nation’s economy because there will be low productivity, poor education, increased morbidity/mortality rate. Inflation and unemployment of which malnourished children in Ukpenu, Esan West Local Government Area Ekpoma, Edo State are not exempted. The implications of malnutrition among children can be avoided if parents have the knowledge on how malnutrition can be prevented; this motivated the researcher to write on the knowledge of parents on preventive measures of malnutrition among children (O-5years).
Objective of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to determine knowledge of parents on the preventive measures of malnutrition among children (O-5vears) in Ukpenu, Esan West Local Government Area Ekpoma, Edo State. Specific objectives include the following to:
- Determine the knowledge of mothers on exclusive breast feeding as a preventive measure of malnutrition among children (O-5years) in Ukpenu, Esan West L.G.A, Ekpoma, Edo State.
- Ascertain mothers knowledge on adequate nutrition as a preventive measure of malnutrition among children (O-5years) in Ukpenu, Esan West Local Government Area, Ekpoma, Edo State.
- Determine the knowledge of mothers on child spacing as a preventive measures of malnutrition among children (0-5years) in Ukpenu, Esan West L.G.A, Ekpoma, Benin City
- Determines knowledge of mothers on proper hygiene in handling and preparing baby’s food as a preventive measure of malnutrition among children (0-5years) in Ukpenu, Esan West Local Government Area, Ekpoma, Edo State.
- What is the knowledge of mothers on Exclusive breastfeeding as a preventive measure of malnutrition among children (0-5years)?
- What is the knowledge of mothers on adequate nutrition as a preventive measure of malnutrition among children (0-5years)?
- What is the knowledge of mothers on child spacing as a preventive measure of malnutrition among children (0-5years)?
- What is the knowledge of mothers on proper hygiene in handling and preparing baby’s food as a preventive measure of malnutrition among children (0-5 years)?
Significance of the Study
The study will be significant to parents of malnourished children, researchers and policy makers. It will help parents especially mothers to know how to prevent malnutrition among their children (O-5years) in Ukpenu, Esan West L.G.A, Ekpoma, Edo State. Also, it will form a background for health education programs on the ways malnutrition can be prevented and also expose preventive measures of malnutrition especially to parents of malnourished children thus improving their knowledge. The result of the research will act as an effective guideline for parents, health workers and communities about malnutrition. The result will further motivate nurses/midwives to educate parents on preventive measures for malnutrition. Finally, the study will provide primary data for students researching on malnutrition and related topics.
Scope of the Study
This study is delimited to all children (O-5yrs) in Ukpenu, Esan West Local Government Area, Ekpoma, Edo State. It is also delimited to independent variables of level of education, religious affiliation, parity status and age. It is further delimited to the use of structured questionnaire for data collection. Finally, it is delimited to the use of statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 21 in the analysis of the data collected.
Limitations of the Study
The limitations experienced by the researcher during the course of the study were as follows;
Time: There was time constraint on the part of the researcher when sourcing for materials, distributing questionnaires and analyzing the data gathered because the researcher is a student who needed to attend classes and be involved in other school work.
Financial constraints: Financial constraint was encountered by the researcher during the typing and printing of the questionaires.
Illiteracy of the respondents: This was also a hindrance because some of the respondents were unable to read and write and needed more time for the questions to be interpreted and explained.
Reluctance of the participants: There was reluctance on the part of some of the participants to fill the questionnaires, some eventually agreed but some individuals bluntly refused to participate in the study.
Operational Definition of Terms
Malnutrition: Malnutrition is a state of being poorly nourished caused by defective in quantity and quality of nutrients in diet or by malabsorption
Knowledge: The state of knowing about a particular fact or situation
Mother(S): A human female who parents a child.
Food: Anything eaten by animal or person
Hygiene: The practice of preserving health
Nutrition: The process by which living things receive food necessary for them to grow and stay healthy.
Infection: This is the establishment of disease causing microorganisms in the body
Education: This is the process of learning to improve knowledge and develop skills.
Culture: The customs and beliefs, or a way of life of a people
Religion: The belief in the existence of a god or gods and the activities that are connected with the worship of them.
Growth: An increase in size amount or degree of something.
Morbidity: The state or condition of being with a disease.