Knowledge of Dietary Diversity, Hygienic Practices of Caregivers and Nutritional Status of under five Children in Rural West Bengal, India

A mother’s knowledge about dietary diversity is the key component for providing a high-quality diet to her children. However, there is a dearth of literature to assess a mother’s knowledge about dietary diversity and its impact on the nutritional status of children. Therefore, an attempt was made in this study to understand a mother’s knowledge on dietary diversity and her hygienic practices on the nutritional status of under-five children. This cross-sectional community based study was conducted in rural West Bengal, India. Data was collected using Android-based ODK data collection tools and analysed using WHO Anthro and SPSS (version 25) software. Frequency distribution, bi-variate cross-tabulation and binary logistic regression analysis were performed. 31% of children found underweight, 41.4% stunted and 17% wasted. About 37% of mothers knew about minimum dietary diversity and 24% used to wash their hands with soap and water before feeding their children. A mother’s knowledge on dietary diversity was significantly associated with lower odds of being underweight (AOR:0.34), stunted (AOR:0.49) and wasted (AOR:0.33). Other significant predictors were a mother’s educational attainment, knowledge on the symptoms of malnourishment and the habit of handwashing. The findings of this study reinforce the importance of enhancing a mothers’ knowledge on child nutrition, dietary diversity and hygienic practices to improve the nutritional status of children.