NUTRITIONAL STATUS AND ASSOCIATED FACTORS IN UNDER-FIVE CHILDREN OF RAWALPINDI
AbstractBackground: Malnutrition is a serious child health issue throughout the developing world. Pakistan has the second highest infant and child mortality rate in South Asia. This study was carried out to assess the nutritional status of children under 5 years of age and to determine the frequency and association of malnutrition with various demographic variables in the study group. Methods: A multi-centre, cross sectional study was conducted at the immunization centres of the 3 allied hospitals of Rawalpindi Medical College during March-May 2014. Healthy children of under 5 years of age without confirmed diagnosis of any disease/ailment were included. Guardians of 100 children were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Demographic variables include age, gender, family size, family income, breastfeeding, maternal education, presence of a family member with special needs and presence of siblings under 5 years in family. Weight (kg) was measured and malnutrition was assessed by weight for age. Results: Malnutrition was found to be present in 32% of children. Adequately nourished children were 68%, while moderately and severely malnourished children were 14% and 18% respectively. Our study indicated malnutrition to be significantly associated with maternal illiteracy (p=0.01) and presence of a family member with special needs (p=0.05). No significant association was found between malnutrition and gender, family size, family income, breast feeding and presence of siblings under 5 years of age. Conclusion: There is a need to plan composite interventions to elucidate the factors that place children at greater risk for malnutrition.
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