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Prevalence of Malnutrition in under 6-year Olds in South Khorasan, Iran

Author(s): Gholamreza Sharifzadeh | Hassan Mehrjoofard | Soori Raghebi

Journal: Iranian Journal of Pediatrics
ISSN 2008-2142

Volume: 20;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 435;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Malnutrition | Underweight | Wasting | Stunting | Children

Objective: Malnutrition is one of the important health problems throughout the world, particularly in developing countries, which has undesirable effects on mental and physical health of children. The aim of this study was to find out the prevalence of malnutrition in children under 6 years old in Privince South Khorasan, Iran, in 2007. Methods: This cross sectional and descriptive analytical study was conducted on children under 6 years old in South Khorasan Iran, belonging to six urban and rural regions applying multistage cluster sampling methodology. Data were collected through measuring weight and height, structural questionnaires Anthropometric Nutrution Indicators Survey, and face-to-face interviews with mothers. Malnutrition was measured on the basis of the indices underweight, wasting and stunting. The obtained data was analyzed by means of chi-square test in the packages SPSS and EPI-Info 2000, taking α= 0.05 as the significant level. Findings: Out of 1807 children 51.7% were males, 52.2% living in urban areas, and 37% were under 24 months old. Weight index was normal in 52.2% children, 34.4% lightly underweight, 11.7% moderately underweight and 1.2% severely underweight. Prevalence of underweight had a significant relationship to habitation, mothers' job and parents' education level. According to stunting criteria, 55% were normal, 28.4% lightly stunted 12.7% were moderate, and 3.9% severe stunted. Stunting also had a significant relationship to habitation, age, mother's job, and parents' level of education. Wasting criteria showed that 67.8% were normal 24.7% light, 5.9% moderate and 1.6% had severe wasting. This had a significant relationship to sex and habitation. Conclusion: Prevalence of malnutrition was in children and its relationship to socioeconomic variables, measures such as increasing parents' education - especially mothers' knowledge - constancy of breast feeding until the age of 2 years, and promoting nutrition status of children under 6 years are recommended.
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