The Perception Of Parents Towards Malnutrition
The study aimed at examining the perception of parents towards malnutrition using parents attending Gongi clinic Maiduguri local government Area of Borno State as case study. three significant research objectives were formulated to guild the study. The study adopted the survey research design. In determining the population of the study, the researcher selected parents attending Gongi clinic in Maiduguri local government Area of Borno State. The convenient sampling method was adopted in determining the sample size. Hence, the researcher conveniently selected 75 parents who attended Gongi clinic as sample size. A total of 75 questionnaires were administered to the respondents, while only 50 were validated. Data gather were analyzed using simple percentages and mean scores. The result of the findings shows that the causes of malnutrition in growing children is surrounded by lack of health food, inappropriate dietary choices, parental low income, and food insecurity. The study further revealed that malnutrition affects the growth and development of children in various ways which include; growth failure and stunting, delayed sexual development, reduced muscle mass and strength, impaired intellectual development, and reduced immune system ability to fight infection. Based on the findings, it was recommended that educators, both formal and non-formal, are required to assist people, particularly women in achieving and ensuring good nutrition. Tackling malnutrition often require the contribution of professionals in economics, social development, politics, government, the labour movement and many other spheres.
1.1 Background of the Study
Malnutrition is a term which refers to both under nutrition (sub nutrition) and over nutrition (obesity). It can also be defined as the insufficient, excessive or imbalance consumption of nutrients. Nutrition plays a critical role in the ability of a growing child to develop well to adulthood as malnutrition causes stunted growth, muscle wasting, deficiency of various vitamins especially vitamin A and Zinc mineral.
The Oxford advanced learners dictionary (2010) defines malnutrition as a poor health condition resulting from either lack of food or the right type of food. The World Health Organization (WHO, 2010) defines malnutrition as deficit in the necessary amount of micro-elements needed for the normal metabolism and functioning of the body such as potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium. It is worthy of note that there is an increased nutrient requirement during early growth and development in utero and in extra uterine life.
According to the National Health Service (NHS) United Kingdom. It is estimated that about three million people are affected by malnutrition and one in every three persons admitted to hospital or care homes in the United Kingdom are found to be malnourished or at risk of malnourishment. Black et al (2013) estimate that under nutrition is the cause of three million child deaths annually. In Africa, it is estimated that an increase from 31% in the year 1990 to 43% in the year 2005 of deaths occur due to malnutrition, as a result 10.6 million deaths of under-five children every year (World Health Organization, 2015). In Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health estimates that 41% of Nigerian children under age five years are malnourished, this accounts to 1.1 million deaths (Punch News, 2015).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Malnutrition in growing children is one of the major causes of child morbidity and mortality as up to 33% of children who die in Nigeria is due to the problem of malnutrition. At least 30 – 50% of all childhood death and 10 – 40% hospital admissions in developing countries occur as a result of malnutrition (WHO 2005).
Among growing children severe under nutrition increases risk of morbidity because malnourished children are susceptible to infection and with impaired cognitive development, poor social and emotional achievement and low economic productivity. In order to make a sustainable impact, intervention need to address direct cause and also the contextual factor poverty has been identified as a important determinant of severe malnutrition, the path way for this is complex. Improved economic performance has not automatically led to improved nutritional status, poverty increases susceptibility to poor nutritional outcome, a significant number of children brought up in poverty thrive. Therefore, adequate food is only one factor that is important.
The integration of psychosocial stimulation (the exposure of a child to a variety of experiences and the encouragement to explore the environment) into nutritional programs has been found to be an important element in adequately addressing malnutrition. This involves the development of parenting skills and promotion of change in the relationship between the parent and child. In any nutritional intervention, therefore knowledge of the beliefs and behaviors of parents is an important consideration.
As a first step in mobilizing resources to develop an appropriate intervention, a study was made to find out what is the parent perceptions towards malnutrition as a health problem in growing children, in a community like Gongi where the mother is the care giver and generally the parent who accompanies a child to hospital for the treatment of severe malnutrition, it is the parent who is the key to overcoming the consequences of severe malnutrition.
The aim of the present research is therefore to answer the question “what are the perceptions of parents towards malnutrition as a health problem in growing children at Gongi clinic.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- The study aims to determine the perception of parents towards malnutrition.
- To identify the cause of malnutrition.
- To identify the consequences of malnutrition.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will enable the researcher understand the causes OF malnutrition, ascertain the effects of malnutrition and know mothers perception about malnutrition. The study will also help mothers realize the consequences of malnutrition, the knowledge of the incidence of malnutrition among growing children will enable Gongi clinic to educate parents more on the prevention of malnutrition.
1.5 Research Questions
- What are the causes of malnutrition in growing children?
- How does malnutrition affect the growth and development of children?
- What are the perception of nursing mothers towards malnutrition?
1.6 Scope of the Study
The research project covers parents attending Gongi clinic Maiduguri local government area Borno state on the issue of perception of parent towards malnutrition in growing children as a health problem.
Delay in collecting questionnaires as the clients visit the Infant Welfare Clinic in different days, difficulty in getting client attention and financial difficulty.
1.8 Definitions of Terms
It would be necessary at this point to make clear the meaning of some words used in this study.
Strange, eccentric, belonging exclusively to one person or place or thing special.
Take in, combine into itself or oneself, combine into occupy the attention or interest.
Study of disease
Unit of heat, unit of the energy producing value of food
Having the distinctive qualities of a particular type of person or thing
Very great or intense, at the end (s), outermost, going to great lengths in actions or views, extreme degree or act or condition.
When something is enough
Fixed or limited period, period of weeks during which a law court holds sessions or school holds session.
Malnutrition, Malnourished, sick persons people suffering from deficiency.
Not adequate, not sufficiently
Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:
This chapter summarizes the findings on the perception of parents towards malnutrition using parents attending Gongi clinic Maiduguri local government Area of Borno State as case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.
5.2 Summary of the Study
In this study, our focus was onthe perception of parents towards malnutrition using parents attending Gongi clinic Maiduguri local government Area of Borno State as case study.The study is was specifically set to; determine the perception of parents towards malnutrition, identify the cause of malnutrition, and identify the consequences of malnutrition.
The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 50 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are parents who attended Gongi clinic in Maiduguri local government Area of Borno State.
In the light of the analysis carried out, the following conclusions were drawn.
- The causes of malnutrition in growing children is surrounded by lack of health food, inappropriate dietary choices, parental low income, and food insecurity.
- Malnutrition affects the growth and development of children in various ways which include; growth failure and stunting, delayed sexual development, reduced muscle mass and strength, impaired intellectual development, and reduced immune system ability to fight infection.
- Nursing mothers perceive that malnutrition is dangerous for child mental development, is detrimental to children’s growth, parents’ lack of knowledge about safe hygiene practices contributes to it, it leads to poor performance of children in school, makes children to develop indigestion problem, and mother’s lack of education in enhancing the quality of care and nutritional status of children contribute to it.
The researcher considers it necessary to make the following recommendations.
- Malnutrition program should be strengthened and expanded by Ministry of Health. Mothers should be taught very nutritious meals to introduce as complementary meals when exclusive breast-feeding is stopped (after 6 months).
- Good source of water by Nigeria Water Company should be made available to all homes.
- Caregivers should be educated on the need to wash their hand with clean water and soap before preparing food, cleaning the child and after toilet Government should make it a policy for all homes to have good toilet facilities.
- Educators, both formal and non-formal, are required to assist people, particularly women in achieving and ensuring good nutrition. Tackling malnutrition often require the contribution of professionals in economics, social development, politics, government, the labour movement and many other spheres.
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