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Malnutrition is a public health problem in developing countries and an underlying factor in one third of 6.6 million global under five deaths recorded in 2012. This study undertaken to determine the prevalence of malnutrition around under five children attending Gwamnawa General Hospital Kakuri, Kaduna state, Northeast of Nigeria. Cross sectional descriptive study was used and a structural questionnaire was used to obtain information from respondents. 25 respondents were selected using simple random sampling technique. The anthropometric indices result shows that56% are normally, 32% are accurately malnourish, 8% are morbidly malnourished and 4% were severely malnourished. Medical history shows that 70% of the respondents had suffered from diarrhea, vomiting, 16% with measles and 8% with yellow fever.
Every child has inalienable right to be free from hunger and malnutrition in order to develop fully and maintain their physical growth and mental faculties. However, poor growth is attributed to a range of factors closely linked to standards of living and the ability of a population to meet their basic needs, such as access to food, housing and health care (UNICEF, 2000).
Malnutrition is insufficient, excessive or imbalanced consumption of dietary energy and nutrients. It manifests in different forms, such as under nutrition, over nutrition and micronutrients malnutrition and results from either inadequate or excessive availability of energy and nutrients (Brown et al., 2011). Malnutrition can occur in two forms; Primary malnutrition which results when a poor nutritional state is dietary in origin and secondary malnutrition is precipitated by a diseased state, surgical procedure, or medication. Diarrhea, alcoholism, AIDS, and gastrointestinal tract bleeding are examples of conditions that may cause secondary malnutrition (Brown et al., 2011).
Malnutrition in early childhood is associated with functional impairment in adult life as malnourished children are physically and intellectually less productive when they become adults. It decreases the educational achievement, labour productivity and economic growth of a country. Children that are malnourished tend to have increased risk of morbidity and mortality and often suffer delayed mental development, poor school performances and reduced intellectual achievement. Concurrent high levels of malnutrition worsen the health status and development potential of a child (Smith and Haddad, 1999).
Globally, nutritional status is considered the best indicator of the well-being of an individual (Dasgupta et al., 2014). The nutritional status of a child is of particular concern because early years of life are crucial for future growth and development. Under-five children represent the vulnerable and the most important target group where malnutrition plays a pivotal role in their mortality and morbidity along with delayed mental and motor development during these formative years (Dasgupta et al., 2014).
A widely used conceptual framework published by UNICEF in 1990 identifies three main underlying determinants of nutritional status: availability and access to food, the quality of feeding and care giving practices, and the health of the surrounding environment and access to health care services. Each of these determinants is a necessary but not sufficient condition on its own to good nutrition (ARDD World Bank, 2007)
Preschool children are young children who learn and plays is small groups, often close to their homes and are within the age range of two (2) years to five (5) years (Bedford Borough Council, 2013).
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
The challenges of hunger and inadequate intake of food nutrients which hampers the nutritional status of children and women still remains an issue of concern in Nigeria. Worldwide, almost 7 million children die each year before they reach their fifth birthday, while India (24%) and Nigeria (11%) together account for more than one-third of all under-five deaths. Globally, undernutrition is responsible, directly or indirectly, for at least 35% of deaths in children less than 5 years of age (WHO, 2010; You et al., 2011; UNICEF, 2014). The under – 5 mortality rate in Nigeria is 128 deaths per 1000 live births, which implies that one in every eight children born die before reaching their fifth birthday (NDHS, 2013).
Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) revealed that under-5 mortality rate decreased from 201 deaths per 1,000 live births to 128 deaths per 1,000 live births from 2003 to 2013 (NDHS, 2003; NDHS, 2013). However, Nigeria did not achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs) target of reducing the under-5 mortality to 64 deaths per 1,000 live births and the infant mortality to 30 deaths per 1,000 live births (FMOH, 2014).
The estimated maternal mortality ratio in Nigeria of 545 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2008 has increased to 576 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013 (NDHS, 2008; NDHS, 2013). The NDHS (2008) also reported that 12% of Nigerian women are too thin, but 22% are overweight or obese. The proportion of overweight women is almost twice as high in urban areas as in rural areas (31% compared with 17%) and increases with age, education, and wealth.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of malnutrition among under-five children in Kaduna, A case study of Gwamnawa general hospital.
1.3.2 Specific Objectives;
The specific objectives of the study include;
· To assess the prevalence of malnutrition among under-five children attending Gwwamnaw hospital, using weight chart and physical examination
· To determine weight and height of the children through weight gain child
· To assess their weight and height through stadiomter and infantometer
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