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Diet and Nutrition Status of Children in Four Tribal Blocks of Thane District of Maharashtra, India (Nutrition Status of Children)

Author(s): A.L. Khandare | V. Siruguri | A. Rao | K. Venkaiah | G. Reddy | G.S. Rao

Journal: Pakistan Journal of Nutrition
ISSN 1680-5194

Volume: 7;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 485;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Nutritional status | tribal community | malnutrition

India accounts for about 40% of undernourished children in the world, which contribute to high morbidity and mortality in the country. Recently reports on deaths due to malnutrition among Tribal communities of Thane district in the State of Maharashtra were widely published in the newspapers and also communicated via other media. A rapid survey was undertaken to investigate the extent of the problem in selected villages of Thane district where the malnutrition deaths were reported. Information was collected from a total of 118 households in 4 villages on nutritional status through clinical examination, anthropometry, dietary intake and general socio-economic status. The results revealed that majority of the population belonged to Scheduled tribe community (95.8%). Data on food and nutrient intake indicated that rice is consumed as the major dietary staple in the region followed by ragi (Eleusine coracana), wheat (Triticum aestivum) and bajra (Pennisetum typhoideum). The average calorie intake per Consumption Unit (CU) was observed to be 1857 kcal which was less than the RDA by 23% and protein 30% (42g) less than the RDA. The percent distribution of children from 0-6 years of age according to nutritional status indicated that the overall prevalence of underweight (< Median-2SD) among 0-6 year old children was 68.7% while that of severe underweight (< Median-3SD) was 28.6%. The overall prevalence of stunting (< Median-2SD) in the children of the 0-6 year age group was 60.4% while that of severe stunting (< Median-3SD) was 38.5%. The index of current nutritional status and measure of wasting as indicated by weight for height showed overall prevalence as 30.2% and severe wasting as 4.4%. The results of the rapid survey indicated that various factors including health status of mothers, dietary and socio-economic factors have been contributory to the malnutrition of the children and that malnutrition alone may not be the direct cause of the deaths that are reported in the media.
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