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Product Code: 00007559

No of Pages: 77

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The purpose of this study is to assess adolescent girls’ knowledge on infant and young child feeding practices in Umuahia Local Government Area in Abia State. This cross sectional analytical study was carried out in Umuahia South Local Government Area in Abia State, Nigeria. The population study comprises of adolescent girls. Multistage sampling was adopted in determining the sample size for the study among 250 adolescent girls were selected from household and schools. Data were collected using researcher-administered questionnaires. The questionnaire was validated by three lecturers in the Department Of Human Nutrition And Dietetics. The questionnaire was used to collect personal data of the adolescent girls and to assess their knowledge on exclusive breastfeeding, continue breastfeeding and complementary feeding. Data analysis was done using IBM statistical software (SPSS) version 20.0. The result shows that 66.6% of with mean and standard deviation of 2.46±0.77 of the adolescent girls had good knowledge,19.2% had advantage knowledge with mean and standard deviation of (62.30±20.74) while 17.2% had poor knowledge on exclusive breastfeeding with mean and standard deviation of 4.98±1.65. The study also showed that adolescent girls (49.6%) with mean and standard deviation of 2.31±0.76 had good knowledge, 32% had an average grade with mean and standard deviation of 58.10±19.32 while 18.4% with mean and standard deviation of 6.39±2.12 had poor knowledge on continued breastfeeding and complementary feeding. There is a positive and strong relationship between knowledge of exclusive breastfeeding and knowledge of complementary feeding (r=0.359, p=0.000). More so, there was a positive and weak relationship between the age of young adolescent and knowledge of exclusive feeding (r=0.220, p=0.003). Based on the findings, it was recommended that nutrition education should be employed at schools to educate the adolescent girls on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and complementary feeding.


Title page                                                                                                                    i

Certification                                                                                                                ii

Dedication                                                                                                                   iii

Acknowledgement                                                                                                      iv

Table of contents                                                                                                        v

List of tables                                                                                                                ix

Abstract                                                                                                                       x




1.1  Background of the study                                                                                       1

1.2       Statement of the problem                                                                              4

1.3 Objectives of the study                                                                                         5

1.4 Significance of the study                                                                                       6



2.1                   Infant and young child feeding practices

2.1.1.   Infant and young child nutrition requirements according to world health organization (WHO).        7

2.1.2.   Definition of terms associated with infant and young child feeding practices 9

2.1.3    Recommended infant and young child practices.                                          10

2.2.      History of breast feeding                                                                                10

2.2.1    Exclusive breastfeeding and importance                                                       11

2.2.2.   Infant formula                                                                                                 11

2.2.3.   Dangers of formula/bottle feeding                                                                12

2.2.4    In some cases breastfeeding is medically contraindicated                           12

2.2.5.   Complementary feeding practices                                                                 13

2.3.      Adolescent                                                                                                      13

2.3.1.   Adolescent girls development                                                                        13

2.3.2.   Adolescent girls and child care                                                                      13

2.4       Influence on adolescent on infant and young child feeding practices           14

2.4.1.   Adolescent knowledge attitude and behavior                                                14

2.4.2.   Educational influence on adolescent on infant and young child feeding practices 15

2.4.3. Socio economic influence on adolescent on the infant and young child feeding practices  15




3.1       Study design                                                                                                    20

3.2       Area of study                                                                                                   20

3.3       Population of the study                                                                                   20

3.4       Sampling and sampling techniques                                                                21

3.4.1 Sample size                                                                                                        21

3.4.2 Sample procedure                                                                                             22

3.5 Preliminary activities                                                                                            22

3.5.1 Preliminary visit                                                                                                 22

3.5.2 Training of research assistants                                                                          22

3.5.3. Ethical approval                                                                                                22

3.5.4. Informed consent                                                                                              22

3.6  Data collection                                                                                                      23

3.6.1Questionnaire administration                                                                            23       

3.6.1        Interview                                                                                                         24       

3.7      Data analysis                                                                                                       25

3.8      3.8. Statistical analysis                                                                                        26




4.1.      Socio-Demographic characteristics of the adolescent girls                           32

4.2. Household characteristics of the adolescent girls                                              33

4.3. Source of adolescent girls knowledge on exclusive breastfeeding.                    38

4.4. Correct knowledge Response on Exclusive Breastfeeding                                  40

4.5   Knowledge Response of the Adolescent on continued breastfeeding and complementary Food preference of the adolescents subjects                       41

4.6. Relationship between knowledge of exclusive breastfeeding and Complementary feeding and some selected personal and household characteristics.                 42




5.1 Conclusion                              49

5.2 Recommendations                49

REFERENCES                 51










Table 4.1.  Personal characteristics of the adolescent girls'.                                                            30

Table 4.2.  Household characteristics of the adolescent girls’.                                                         33                                                                   

Table 4.3.   Source of Adolescent girls knowledge on Exclusive breastfeeding.       34                                                                                     

Table 4.4   knowledge Response on exclusive breastfeeding                                                 36                                                                                                                               

Table 4.5.   Knowledge Response on the Adolescent on Continued Breastfeeding and              Complementary feeding.                                                                                                                          37

Table 4.6. Relationship between knowledge of Exclusive Breastfeeding and Complementary feeding and some selected personal and household characteristics.                                                                                                                                               39                                                                                                                                             









Adolescent is a critical life stage for all forms of human development because when poor adolescent girls become mothers or care givers to impoverished children, poverty and inequities are passed on to the next generation (UNICEF, 2011). In low income settings, adolescents are less likely to finish school and mostly married early, leading to early childbearing and increased risk for maternal mortality and morbidity.

Approximately 165 million children under the age of five are chronically undernourished (Black et al., 2013). Stunting, along with foetal growth restriction, suboptimum breastfeeding, wasting and Vitamin A and zinc deficiencies are estimated to account for 3.1million annual deaths of children under five (Black et al., 2013). Chronic under-nutrition leads to poorer schooling outcomes, lower economic productivity and a greater likelihood of being poor in adulthood (Hoddinott et al., 2013). Poor infant and young child nutrition (IYCN) practices contribute to poor preschool nutrition outcomes (Avula et al., 2013; Ahmed et al. 2012) and where infant and young child feeding practices  have been improved,  promotion have been observed in child’s heath  (Guldan et al., 2000; Bhandari et al., 2004). For this reason, in a number of countries where the burden of under- nutrition is high, efforts are being made to improve IYCN practices. Where these efforts exist, they are nearly always directed to nursing mother as well as care takers (Avula et al., 2013; Baker et al., 2013; Nguyen et al., 2014).

According to UNICEF (2012), in recent years, interest in adolescent girl child development intervention has increased worldwide with focus ranging from health and education to economic empowerment (Sawyer et al., 2012). International bodies increase investment in young people and emphasis on adolescence as a development window of opportunity offering demographic dividends.

Girls are often considered an economic burden on families, and arranged marriages during early adolescence without the consent of their consent are thought to relieve financial stress on natal families. A perception that girls are costly to families may be linked to the practice of dowry (goods or monies transferred from the groom’s to the bride’s family) and create incentive for early arranged marriages because dowry prices tend to increase as years pass by (Amin et al., 2011)

Globally, child marriage (under 19 years) affects more than 10 million girls annually (Raj et al., 2012). Despite national laws forbidding child marriage, marring of young girls once puberty once puberty commences is common in rural settings.

Furthermore girls who marry at their adolescent age tent to have little or no knowledge about infant and young child feeding. Adolescent girls in rural area of Bangladesh was found to have less knowledge and understanding of exclusive breastfeeding practices and the use of nutrition rich complementary food. Although conveying infant and young child nutrition (IYCN) knowledge to adolescent girls in a timely manner is important to ensure the well-being of children.

A further study of birth cohorts in five counties found that children born to adolescent mothers aged 19years or younger compared to those 20-24years had an increased risk of low birth weight, preterm birth and child stunting at 2yrs of age after adjusting for covariate and in addition, the mothers were at risk of not completing their secondary education (Fall et al., 2015).

Research has that 44% of women aged 15-19years were already in a union (married or cohabitating), 64.95% among women currently aged 20-24years were married by age 18 and 54.1% of women that are currently married  aged 15-19years  had one or more children already (UNICEF, 2017). For these women, the short duration between marriage, pregnancy, and birth allows little time to provide correct information on IYCN practices. What they know about IYCN in adolescence, therefore, may well play an important part in their IYCN practices (Hecket et al., 2015).

World health organization(WHO) and UNICEF (2002) reported that poor breastfeeding and complimentary feeding practices are wide spread, it is estimated that only 34.8% of infants are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, the majority receives other foods or fluids in the early months (WHO,2009). Complementary foods are often introduced too early or too late and are often nutritionally inadequate and unsafe leading to nutritional deficiencies. Poor knowledge on feeding practices and low education of mothers has also been implicated in malnutrition of children (WHO, 2003).

Furthermore Malnutrition is one of the most important health and welfare problems among infants and young children. It is a result of both inadequate food intake and illness. Inadequate food intake is a consequence of insufficient food available at the household level, or improper feeding available at the household level, or improper feeding practices, or both. Improper feeding practices include both the quality and quantity of foods offered to young children as well as the timing of their introduction (UNICEF, 2012).

Adolescent can contribute meaningfully to a large extent to improve their nutrition, nutrition of the family and infant and young child feeding nutrition for both current and future children. This adequate knowledge of infant and young child feeding practices is essential for optimal growth of children and improves their nutrition status (FAO, 2015).

Female adolescence is a window of opportunity for improving health outcome among future children. Therefore increase investment in early education of adolescent girls regarding safe infant and young child feeding practices may be an effective strategy to promote, support and improve feeding practices.


 According to Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) (2005) Poor nutrition education and lack of knowledge on good feeding practices contributes largely to the risk of diarrhea, Kramer, 2003) respiratory illness, (Chantry, 2006) malnutrition and reduced cognitive development.

Its estimated that suboptimal breastfeeding, especially non exclusive breastfeeding I the first month of life, result in 1.4million deaths and 10% of the disease burden in children under the age of 5years (WHO,2003)

Adolescent knowledge on how to purchase, prepare, hold and feed children appropriately could lead to malnutrition as a result of poor feeding practices (International Food Policy Research Institute IFPRI, 2016 )  through reduction in underweight and stunting of which 165million children where estimated to have stunted growth resulting from malnutrition (Bhutta et al, 2013).

These problems associated with infant and young child feeding practices led the researcher to embark on this study to evaluate and proffer way of proper feeding practices and the importance of educating adolescence on nutrition practices.


The general objective of this study is to assess the adolescent girls’ knowledge on infant and young child feeding practices in Umuahia South Local Government Area in Abia State.

 The specific objectives of the study includes to:

  1. Determine the personal and household characteristics of the adolescent girls.
  2. Assess their exposure to source of information on infant and young child feeding practices
  3. Assess the adolescent girls’ knowledge on infant and young child feeding practices.
  4. Determine house hold influences on adolescent girls knowledge on infant and young child feeding practices.


Malnutrition is both a typical cause and a blemishing consequence of poverty. Malnutrition or under-nutrition is the physiological outcome of hunger and/or illness and manifests itself in numerous macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies. It has both short-term and long-term consequences. The short-term consequences are morbidity, disability and mortality; where in the long term it affects a broad range of issues including educational prospects, productive employment, and economic capacity.

Adolescent knowledge on infant and young child feeding practices contributes largely to the understanding of exclusive breastfeeding, food variety for complimentary feeding which leads to growth, cognitive development and well-being of the children and reduce malnutrition.

This study will provide information to the government and the society at large on the need to implement programs which will support exclusive breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices. It will also help policy makers to formulate polices that will help promote Infant and young child feeding practices.


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