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Maternal and children nutrition in northern Mozambique: a mixed methods study


Ganhão C, Pires P,Couto S,Valente A,Mupueleque M,Marega A, Muoki P.


Introduction: children malnutrition is a public health problem in Mozambique and we know that integrated agriculture and nutrition interventions can mitigate malnutrition adverse effects, especially during the first 1,000 days of life. For an agriculture intervention positively impact on nutrition, the implementation must be purposely designed to achieve this objective; this baseline survey was carried out to benchmark a project progress towards attaining its objectives as well as in guiding implementation process.

Methods: descriptive mixed methods research to evaluate the nutritional status of mother-child (aged from 6 to 24 months) pairs, food availability and consumption trends. Focal group discussions to prepare food demonstration tools, a structured questionnaire for 24h-recall and a food frequency questionnaire to collect data were used. We surveyed randomly selected households in Malema and Gurué districts, Northern Mozambique.

Results: 577 infant-mother pairs were surveyed and we found a high prevalence of children born underweight (18.8 %), a prevalence of chronic and acute undernutrition of 6.0 % and 15.4 %, respectively. A double burden of malnutrition (underweight and overweight) was found among mothers. Both Malema and Gurué districts produce various food crops. Legume crops are the main protein source for most households. The 24 h - recall indicated that the median protein consumption among infants was 25.3 g / day, threefold higher than the recommended protein intake from complementary foods, assuming a child is breastfeeding as is expected for children below two years.

Conclusion: this baseline survey highlighted the nutrition status of infant-mother pairs in Malema and Gurué districts, Mozambique, showing a children nutritional positive evolution since the 2011 Mozambican Demographic and Health Survey. Malnutrition double burden (under and overweight) attains mothers and possible underlying factors for the nutrition status were underscored. Potential intervention niches for an integrated agriculture and nutrition project were highlighted.

Key words: children, malnutrition, maternal, Mozambique, nutrition, overweight, underweight.


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