NUTRITIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE OF PRE-SCHOOL FEEDING: A COMPARATIVE STUDY AMONG MOTHERS IN SLUM AND URBAN AREAS OF CALABAR, NIGERIA
In many developing countries, malnutrition has remained one of the leading causes of childhood morbidity and
mortality. This is particularly important for vulnerable groups, including preschool toddlers who require adequate
nutrition for physical and mental stability to face the new challenge of initiation into academic life. This study was
aimed at assessing and comparing knowledge and practice of preschool feeding among mothers in urban and slum
areas in Calabar, Nigeria using cross-sectional study design with researcher-administered structured questionnaire.
One hundred and twenty (120) subjects were surveyed, with mean maternal age of 26.5 ± 3.4 years. Subjects in slum
compared with urban areas had lower levels of education (primary level: 33.3% vs. 15.0%) (p<0.05). Thirty two (32)
subjects (27.1%) had inadequate nutritional knowledge of preschool feeding. Poor knowledge of body building foods
was significantly commoner among slum compared with urban subjects (43.1% vs. 18.3%, p=0.00). Also, poor
knowledge of adequacy of diet was significantly commoner among slum compared with urban subjects (68.9% vs.
50.0%, p=0.04). Bread and tea (51, 42.5%), Eba and soup (37, 30.8%) and rice (27, 22.5%), were the most commonly
consumed breakfast, lunch and dinner, respectively. Nutritional health education and further research including the
use of qualitative methods for better understanding of the reasons for dietary pattern is recommended.
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