Knowledge, Attitude, and Feeding Practices among Caregivers of under Five Years Old Malnourished Children in the Gaza Strip, Palestine

Mohammed Darwish Mohammed EL-Yazory
محمد درويش محمد اليازوري
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Al-Quds University
I feel obliged to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to my instructors in the Faculty of Health Professions of the Al-Quds University, who were helpful and brace. Special thanks to my supervisor Dr. Ahmed A. Najim saved no effort in supporting me to complete this work despite the difficult circumstances. My thanks to the discussion committee instructors who honored me in their valuable discussion from which I benefit much. Also, deep thanks and appreciation is presented to Dr. Samira Abo Alshiekh for the statistical analysis work of this study. I am extremely grateful to my parents for their love, prayers, caring and sacrifices for educating and preparing me for my future. Also, I express my thanks to my sisters, brother, for their support and valuable prayers. My Special thanks go to my colleagues at work and my friends in the profession Finally, thanks to all official organizations and persons who provided me with valuable information and figures.   Abstract Children’s nutritional status is essential since it determines their health status, development, physical growth, academic performance, and general progress in life. Malnutrition refers to deficiencies or excesses in nutrient intake, imbalance of essential nutrients, or impaired nutrient utilization. This study aimed to assess the nutritional knowledge, attitude, and feeding practices of caregivers, of under five years malnourished children in the Gaza Strip. A descriptive, cross-sectional design was used. Caregivers with malnourished children less than five years of age who came to take the service from Ard El-Insan Palestinian Benevolent Association and Middle East Council of Churches Department institution were surveyed using an interviewing questionnaire Data collection took place from March 2021 to November 2021. A consecutive sample was used to enroll all the study sample until the required sample size (140 caregivers) were obtained. The majority of children (61.4%) are aged between 24 and 35 months, while (83.5 %) are born between 37 and 40 weeks. The majority (84.9%) were healthy at birth. (50.9 %) of participants had good knowledge, while (74.2 %) had a good attitude. The three outcome factors are moderately correlated with each other. Three subcategories of knowledge, attitude, and practice statistics show that (5.7%) of the caregivers have strong knowledge, (37.9%) have fair knowledge, and (56.4%) have poor knowledge. The attitude scores are substantially better, with (48.1%) positive and (51.9%) moderate. Caregiver practices were rated as follows: (17%) good, 50% fair, and (37.9%) poor. The study found that education, gender, and family size influence attitude score. The sole factor affecting the knowledge score is one's education. However, no variables were found to affect the nutritional practice score. The data show that caregivers' knowledge and behaviors regarding child feeding and nutrition are lacking. Basic health education and competent counseling by health care experts can help mothers put their information into practice. As a result, the study recommended that there was a need for the government to educate the caregivers on the need for a balanced diet. Malnutrition will also be reduced if caregivers provide a balanced diet of readily available foods. Health care professionals should provide the required information to help caregivers gain knowledge and confidence about nutritional practices, thereby preventing malnutrition.