Breastfeeding Practices and Nutritional Status of Children Aged One to Five Years in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka

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  • Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna ,LK
  • Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna ,LK
  • Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna ,LK



Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF), anthropometric measurements, feeding, under nutrition, complementary feeding, anaemia


Breastfeeding is essential to break the vicious cycle of under nutrition of children. This study was aimed to assess the breastfeeding practices and nutritional status of children aged one to five years in Jaffna district. The study design was descriptive cross sectional. Height, weight, haemoglobin, albumin and serum ferritin of children were measured. Structured interviewer administered questionnaire was used to obtain socio-demographic factors, breastfeeding practices and dietary pattern. Among the total of 846 children (414 boys), 64.4% (545) were exclusively breastfed for 6 months. Among 585 children who were breastfed, 55.6% were breastfed beyond two years while 12.6% were breastfed beyond three years. Working mothers (13.7%) had discontinued the exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) before the completion of six months (45.7%) when compared with the non-working mothers (67.4%). The prevalence of underweight, wasting and stunting was 33, 22 and 26% respectively. Prevalence of under nutrition was significantly high (54.2%) in non-EBF children. Prevalence of anaemia was high among non-EBF children (45.8%). Furthermore the early cessation of EBF before six months depended on the type of family (nucleated or extended) and wealth class of the households (p<0.05). The rate of EBF was low in Jaffna District and duration of breastfeeding of most of the children had not reached 2 yrs. Prevalence of under nutrition was significantly high among the non-exclusively breastfed children. EBF for six months was not practised due to several factors and have contributed to high prevalence of malnutrition in Jaffna district.


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How to Cite

Karthigesu, K., Sandrasegarampillai, B., & Arasaratnam, V. (2017). Breastfeeding Practices and Nutritional Status of Children Aged One to Five Years in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. The Indian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics, 54(2), 172–184.



Original Articles
Received 2017-02-03
Accepted 2017-02-22
Published 2017-04-20



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