Nutritional practices and infant health in Tanzania: a case of Iringa rural district

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University of Dar es Salaam
The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship that exists between nutritional practices and infant health in Iringa Rural District. It was motivated by the observation that there is an increasing incidence of malnutrition in the district while the place has plenty of food of different varieties. The study was carried out in Iringa Rural District from January to March 2011. Data were collected from a sample of 160 mothers with children aged zero and eight (8) health workers. Questionnaires, semi structured interviews, in-depth interviews and observations were used to collect primary data. Documentary reviews were used to collect secondary data. The findings show that majority of infants had adequate growth in age 0-3 months the age when supplementary feeding is not intensive or not yet initiated. Moderate changes were observed in the age of 4 months and above, and drastic changes observed when the infants reached the age of 6 months and above where supplementary food is more intensive and breastfeeding is largely reduced. The results reveal that only 36% of infants in age 4-6 and 31% aged above 6 months respectively had adequate growth. Those who were deteriorating were observed in these age groups and were increasing with age. This presupposes that the health of infants in the study area is influenced by nutritional practices because the changes were observed when introduction of supplementary food started. The results show a clear relation between nutritional practices and infant health such that those who started supplementary feeding in their early ages were more likely to experience a deteriorating health condition or growth faltering than their counterparts who had exclusive breastfeeding. Majority of those who were exclusively breastfed had adequate growth. Basing on these results the study suggested that nutritional practices are central towards building health of the infant and therefore education on importance of proper nutritional practices should be enhanced to control infant mortality caused by nutrition related diseases in the country.
Available in printed form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF RJ216.T34K52)
Infants, Nutrition, Health and hygiene, Iringa rural district, Tanzania
Kibiki, U. (2013) Nutritional practices and infant health in Tanzania: a case of Iringa rural district. Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam.