SURVEY OF THE NUTRITIONAL AWARENESS OF MOTHERS IN OSHIRI DEVELOPMENT CENTER     IN ONICHA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF  EBONYI STATE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Nutritional status is a key indicator of poverty, hunger, poor health, and inadequate education. (www.goolge.com). Good nutrition is crucial in reaching the health, education and economics goals of people (www.goolge.com). Nutrition is the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth of a man (Wikipedia, retrieved on 10th March, 2013). Nutrition can also be seen as a process by which living things receive the food necessary for them to grow and be healthy (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary by A. Hornby 7th Edition).

Nutritionally speaking, the young women of child bearing age (15-44) are of the particular concern and there are 300 millions of them who live under condition of severe poverty. (Hossien Ghassemi, 2013). It is also important to note that two thirds of these women live in rural and one thirds in urban settings, they usually suffer from a rather poor health status which is characterized by shorter life expectancy; high incidence of maternal mortality and low weight gain during pregnancy, poor physical stature, highly prevalent nutritional anemia, delayed menarche and low productivity (Hossien Ghassemi 2013). When women become healthier, better nourished and rise above poverty and when their status in society improves, the world will be a better place, our children will have a better future and development, and peace will have a better chance (Hossien Ghassemi 2013).

The learning ability of a child is compromised by hunger and malnutrition. Hungry children cannot learn well and participate properly in school activities, therefore, good nutrition improve educational outcomes (www.google.compdf). Improved nutritional status arising from better care feeding at home and awareness of the importance of nutrition and the practical knowledge and skill acquired from nutrition education can lead to higher rates of school enrolment, better attendance and greater educational achievements by children (www.google.com). Cognitive development and productivity cannot be achieved without good nutrition. Poorly nourished children cannot grow and develop properly, resist infections or learn to their potential, when the mother has a good knowledge about nutrition, it help the child in development and sound body system. Women health and nutrition knowledge is of utmost importance as it refers to the health of the family (Kamla-Raj 2008).

Adequate nutrition help the child to develop strong bone and teeth and can build a strong immunity that will help the body to resist communicable and non communicable diseases such as scurvy, Rickets, Kwashiokor, pellagra, Beri-Beri etc (Bridget Coila 2011). Women are the key to good family nutrition in virtually all societies. Nutritional knowledge of women is important for the heath and work capacity of woman themselves as well as for the health of their offspring’s (Magda I. Hassan 2013) women are required to have an adequate diet in food in other to make them strong and healthy. Poor knowledge of basic nutrition requirement during pregnancy could lead to death of the new born or the mother will be at risk (Hassan M.I (2013).

Statement of the Problem

The responsibility of training and raising children as future leaders rest on the shoulders of mothers, for a child to attain its potential, that child must be healthy. Good nutrition would help improve the child educationally and guarantee good heath. Only mothers who are aware of the importance of nutrition would provide them for the children. It has been estimated that about five million child deaths recorded each year can be trace to hunger and malnutrition (www.google.com). When mothers lack knowledge of a good nutrition it affect the child, and the child is prone to be anemia which can cause death of the child.

Moreso, illiteracy and ardent poverty of some mothers does not create the knowledge or allow mothers to know the importance of adequate diet and need to undergo diet exchange while feeding their children. Some mothers lack knowledge of nutrition intake during pregnancy and could lead to either the mother or child death (Khali and Roudi Falimi 2004). Therefore, mothers lack of nutrition knowledge affect the brain, health, and development, the child will not be performing well both academically and otherwise. Some mothers ignore, neglect and fail to meek up with the dietary requirement of children, so they may place their children on junk goods and carbohydrate foods only, which may lead the child to suffer for some diseases. Poor and illiterate mothers think less on type of food they feed their children, they feed their growing children ignorantly and they do not recognize when the child is overweight or underweight.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this research work is to:

  1. Determine the level of nutritional knowledge of mothers.
  2. The mother’s knowledge about the relationship between adequate nutrition and good health.
  3. To find out whether mother are aware on how to improve the nutritional status of their children.

Significance of the Study

The main people that will benefit from this work are:

Mothers, children, nutritionist or dietician, student, rural dwellers, pregnant women, society and government etc. The mothers ‘will benefit a lot about the ways and method to apply while planning for the meal of the family and while undergoing the feeding processes of her children. It will equally assist mothers in food selection based on their nutritional values and utilizing them correctly in order to maintain the nutritional requirement of their children in order to enhance healthy growth and body system development.

Children will equally benefit for the fact that they depend on the food prepared by their mother to survive. When the mothers of these children has that good knowledge about nutrition saves lives will improve house hold food security and nutrition information increases children chances of growing to adulthood. The nutritionist or dietician will benefit from the study and would stand to advise their patients properly and tell them the importance of food selections. The rural dwellers will be the greatest beneficiaries of this work because the result will be utilized in teaching them on the need for good nutrition especially for their growing children. The students will equally benefit by using this, work for their research purpose and it will also help them to achieve more knowledge on the importance of good nutrition and the effect of nutrition in their body.

       The pregnant women will benefit as they will be thought that poor nutrition status and substandard antenatal care will result to increase in women’s risk low birth weight and stillbirth (Restogiest 2011). The societies will benefit because this research work will enlighten them on how to handle their individual families on the type and quality of food that is necessary for them and their children. Information obtain would assist government in putting up policies that will enhance the life style of its populace.

Scope of the Study

       The scope of the study is limited in Oshiri Development center under onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The study intended to determine the level of the nutritional knowledge of mothers. And the mothers knowledge about the relationship between adequate nutrition and good health and equally to know the ways which mothers can improve the nutritional status of their children and good health. The area of the study is Oshiri Development centre which comprises: Ugwu Oshiri, Ebia Oshiri and Ogudu-Okwor all in Oshiri Development centre of Onicha Local Government Area, Ebonyi State.

Research Questions

  1. What are the nutritional knowledge of mothers?
  2. What are the mother’s knowledge about the relationship between adequate nutrition and good health?
  3. What are the ways mothers can improve the nutritional status of their children?
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