Breast Feeding (BF) is critical for sustaining new born and infant health. Complementary Feeding (CF) is the introduction of foods other than breast milk or infant formula into the infants diets where their primary role is to increase dietary diversity, not to reduce breast milk intake. Weaning is the term used to describe the process of cessation of BF after a time period of its successful feeding. The study aims to compare anthropometric nutritional indicators of Preschool Children (PSC) aged 5-6 years in Gaza Strip (GS) with their nutritional history during in fanthood that included: Exclusive Breast feeding (EBF), CF and Weaning Practices (WP). The study design was a cross sectional. The study sample consisted of 571 cases aged 5-6 years old. Data were collected through face to face interviews with the children's mothers. The questionnaire contained issues about anthropometric measures, history of feeding and weaning processes of PSC during early childhood. Anthropometric measures were carried out in order to measure Body Mass Index (BMI) and categorize nutritional indicators of PSC. Descriptive statistics and Chi-square test were used to analyze obtained data. According to the BMI categorization, the prevalence of thinness, stunting and overweight among PSC were 4.2%, 11.9% and 10.3%, respectively. There were no statistical significant relationships between weaning periods and any of these nutritional indicators among PSC. It was also observed that the prevalence of stunting was 39.7% among children that received EBF for six months and more. About sixty percent (58.3%) of thinned children received EBF for less than six months. Moreover, it was recorded that 44.1% of the overweight children received EBF for six months and more. The prevalence of thinness was generally lower among children who received CF after six months. With the exception of milled rice or family food, no statistical significant relations were observed between other types of CF and thinness among PSC. In addition, it was also found that higher percentage of overweight children usually receive CF after four months of age. None of different types of CF were associated with stunting and overweight. The study emphasized that some foods that introduced early to the child had a risk of thinness where most of thin children received CF before six months. Moreover, after six months of child age, CF also was found strongly correlated with EBF.
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Basil J. Kanoa, Baker M. Zabut and Amin T. Hamed, 2011. Nutritional Status Compared with Nutritional History of Preschool Aged Children in Gaza Strip: Cross Sectional Study. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 10: 282-290.
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