S. Madhavi1, Kiran P2, B. Devi Madhavi3
Malnutrition is the most widespread condition affecting the health of the children. Scarcity of suitable foods, lack of purchasing power of the family as well as traditional beliefs and taboos about what the baby should eat, often lead to an insufficient balanced diet, resulting in malnutrition. Culturally related food restriction and reduction in feeding frequency during common childhood illnesses further contributes to the burden of malnutrition and thus to childhood morbidity and mortality. METHODOLOGY: A hospital based, cross sectional descriptive study was conducted among 100 ill children less than 5 years age attending outpatient department of pediatrics in a tertiary care hospital, Visakhapatnam. A semi structured, pretested interview schedule was administered after taking prior consent from mothers. Results were analyzed by using MS Excel. Data was represented as frequencies, percentages and p<0.05 was taken as statistically significant. RESULTS: Among 100 study subjects, 62% were boys and 38% were girls. Thirty percent of children in the study had Grade IV malnutrition (IAP classification). 38% of the mothers had education up to high school. Most of them were Hindu by religion (70%), and housewives by occupation (71%). Most of them belonged to grade III socio-economic status according to modified B G Prasad classification. During illness, one fourth of mothers in group A (children <6 months) and group B (7–24 months) decreased breast feeding and in group C (2-5 years), 35% mothers made the consistency of food thinner than usual. Belief on hot and cold foods concept was among 34% mothers.