The Role of Maternal Education on Nutritional Status of Children in Urban Settings: A Case of Ilala District, Tanzania

Leonard Fweja, Leonard W.T. Fweja

Abstract


The importance of maternal education on child nutritional status was the subject of investigation in this study. The study employed a descriptive cross-sectional research design. One hundred mothers with children below five years who were attending maternal and child health clinic at Mnazi mmoja hospital (at the city centre) and Pugu health center (in the suburb of the City) were randomly selected.  A  questionnaire  was  designed  to  collect  data  on  mother's  demographic, maternal education, nutrition knowledge and socio-economic characteristics. The nutritional status of children was determined based on anthropometric indicators of nutritional status based on height, weight and age.  Maternal education was established and nutritional knowledge was evaluated based on mother's responses on nutritional related question items. Descriptive analysis was used in summarizing results and chi-square in examining association between children nutritional status and maternal education. The majority of mothers (60%) had primary school level education, 29% had completed secondary level education, 3% were college / university graduates and 8% had no formal education. Data on children nutrition status indicated that 12% had small size at birth, 20% were underweight, 14% had low birth weight, 9% were wasted but no stunting was observed. Maternal education however didn’t show any significant effect on children nutrition status implying its interplay with several other determining factors. Household factors  such  as  fathers’  education,  mothers  and  fathers’  occupation,  mothers  and  fathers’ monthly earnings,  and number  of  adults and  children below  18 years  in  families  indicated significant variations (p ≤ 0.05) with respect to maternal education attainments. This suggests a synergistic effect of household factors to children nutrition status.


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