Association between socio-economic factors and nutritional status of under-five years old children in Lusaka, Zambia

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Kankhuni, Beatrice
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The University of Zambia
Nutritional status of under- five children remains a sensitive indicator of Africa‟s health and socio-economic conditions. A few studies acknowledge the importance and the role of nonnutritional factors in determining the nutritional status of under- five children at household level. This study investigated the association between socio-economic factors and nutritional status of under- five children in selected residential areas in Lusaka district of Zambia. A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted with a total of 406 children from different households who were randomly sampled and the nutritional status of every under- five child from each household was assessed using anthropometric measurements graded according to the World Health Organization classification. Data were collected using pre-tested questionnaires from the month of May 2017 to June 2017. Anthropometric measurements of weight, height and mid upper arm circumference were done using a Seca battery scale, height board and Mid Upper Arm Circumference tape respectively. Measurements from both the height and weight were used in computing weight-forage and weight-for-height data using World Health Organisation Anthroplus ver.3.2.2. Data analysis was done using World Health Organisation Anthroplus ver.3.2.2 and Statistical Package for Social Sciences computer software ver.20.The Pearson Chi square significance of association was determined at level of significance less than 0.05.The study found the prevalence of wasting and underweight to be at 7.4 percent and 12.3 percent respectively. Children who were measured with Mid Upper Arm Circumference below 12.5cm were 3.4 percent while those between 12.5- 13.5cm were 18.2 percent and those above 13.5cm were 78.3 percent .There was a significant association between children nutritional status (Weight-for-Age and Weight-for-Height) and some socio-economic factors such as residence (Weight-for-Age, P=0.002 and Weight-for- Height, P=0.014), education level (Weight-for-Age, P=0.001 and Weight-for-Height, P=0.001), sources of water (Weight-for-Age, P=0.001 and Weight-for-Height, P=0.001) and toilet availability (Weight-for-Age, P=0.018 and Weight-for-Height, P=0.001),employment status (Weight-for-Age, P=0.001 and Weight-for-Height,0.001).Type of toilet was not significantly related to (Weight-for-Height =0.215) but significantly related to nutritional status(Weight-for- Age, P=0.001) while household income had a significant relationship with (Weight-for-Age, P=0.002 but not with(Weight-for-Height (P=0.464).The results showed that poor nutrition is a major problem among the under- five children due to the poor socio-economic factors of their parents. Therefore, identification of the core factors influencing the nutrition of under- five children can improve and support strategies that can alleviate child malnutrition and its consequences in Zambia. Keywords; Underweight, Wasting, Social-economic status, Nutritional Status and Mid Upper Arm Circumference
Nutrition disorders in children--Zambia , Nutrition disorders in infant--Zambia