ASSESSMENT OF THE FEEDING PRACTICES, VITAMIN A, IRON, ZINC AND ANTHROPOMETRICS STATUS OF UNDER-FIVE CHILDREN IN ORPHANAGES OF FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY ABUJA, NIGERIA.
The study was undertaken to assess the feeding practices, anthropometric indices, vitamin A,
zinc and iron status of under-five orphans living in Federal Capital Territory orphanages, Abuja.
A cross sectional descriptive study was conducted using 200 orphans (96 males and 104 females)
aged between 0-5 years living in ten orphanages. The subjects were purposively selected for the
study and 20% of sub-sample was randomly selected for biochemical analysis and weighed food
intake assessment. Haemoglobin (Hb) and serum ferritin were used to assess anaemia and iron
status, respectively. Serum retinol was used to assess vitamin A status and serum zinc was used
to assess zinc status. The subjects were screened for malaria parasites and worm infection to
determine their possible impact on anaemia. C-reactive protein (CRP) was used as an indicator
for inflammation. Anthropometric information was assessed using height, weight and mid upper
arm circumference. Feeding practices and socioeconomic information were assessed using
Dietary intake was determined using both food frequency questionnaire and
weighed food intake techniques. The values obtained from nutrient intakes were compared with
FAO/WHO recommended nutrients intake. Anaemia cut off was Hb < 11.0mg/dl, iron deficiency
cut off was serum ferritin levels below 12ug/dl and serum retinol < 20μg/dl showed marginal
vitamin A deficiency. Zinc deficiency was defined as a reading bellow 80μg/dl. There was high
prevalence of zinc deficiency (60.0%) in relation to 30.0% of iron and 20.0% of vitamin A
deficiencies among the under-five children. The prevalence of anaemia was 42.5%. The children
met the mean daily energy, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin and riboflavin intake. Zinc, vitamin A,
niacin and ascorbate were below the recommended allowance. When dietary iron, zinc and
vitamin A intake were correlated with the biochemical status of the children, adequate dietary
iron intake significantly (P<0.05) correlated with good ferritin and zinc status of the children.