Under-nutrition is a global problem and one of the most serious public health issues. Globally, 156 million under-five children were stunted, and 50 million were wasted in 2016. Malnutrition among preschool-age children is caused by low socioeconomic status, food insecurity, poor feeding practices, and infectious diseases. This intervention aimed to evaluate the effect of nutrition education delivered through trained health professionals in improving the nutritional status of preschool -aged children.
A quasi-experimental design among 588 preschool –aged children was used. A multistage sampling technique followed by a systematic random sampling technique was used to identify caregivers with preschool-aged children. Structured questionnaires were used to collect data. The baseline difference in demographic and socioeconomic characteristics between the two groups was examined using a chi-square test and an independent sample t-test was used to determine the mean difference in under-nutrition between the intervention and control groups. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to determine the change in the difference in outcome between the intervention and control groups as well as the association of predictors with under-nutrition in children. The Adjusted odds ratio (AOR) with the corresponding 95% confidence intervals was reported to show the strength of the association. Variables with a p-value of less than 0.05 were considered statistically significant in multivariable analysis.
In this study, the nutritional status of preschool age children was significantly associated with nutrition education intervention [AOR = 0.566, 95% CI: (0.347, 0.923)], place of delivery [AOR = 0.724, 95% CI: (0.551, 0.951)], ARI in the last 2 weeks [AOR = 1.823, 95% CI: (1.226, 2.710)], source of drinking water [AOR = 0.624, 95% CI: (0.484, 0.805)] and household food security [AOR = 1.311, 95% CI: (1.030, 1.669)] .
Findings of this study showed that nutrition education can effectively reduce the magnitude of under-nutrition among preschool children. Under-nutrition was e significantly associated with nutritional education, place of delivery, ARI in the last 2 weeks, source of drinking water, and food security. Therefore, both government and non-government should consider the impacts of nutrition education to alleviate under-nutrition and improve the health status of preschool-age children.