A cross-sectional comparative study was conducted in seven markets in Enugu and Nsukka, Nigeria, to evaluate the child-care practices, occurrence of diarrhoea, feeding patterns and nutritional status among 506 and 157 children aged 0-24 months taken to the market (CTTM) by their mothers and those left at home (CLAH) respectively. A lack of a caretaker at home was the most common reason for taking children to the market. The majority (92%) of the caretakers at home were young (< 20 years). There was no difference in the occurrence of diarrhoea in the last month between the CTTM (39%) and the CLAH (41%) groups (p > 0.05). However, there were differences in reported diarrhoea episodes between children aged 0-6 months and higher age classes (chi 2 = 20.0; p = 0.003). Very few children (0.8%) were exclusively breastfed. More CTTM (58%) were still being breastfed than the 42% of CLAH (OR = 1.87; 95% C.I. = 1.27-2.37; p < 0.001). Children cared for at home had a slightly better but nonsignificant (p > 0.05) anthropometric status as characterised by weight-for-age and height-for-age. There was no relationship between feeding patterns and diarrhoea.
Journal of diarrhoeal diseases research 10/1998; 16(3):173-9.