Background: Malnutrition in children is a major public health problem in developing countries and is one of the common causes of mortality and morbidity in children. We aimed to determine the nutritional status of children aged 2-12 years of age using World Health Organisation(WHO) Z score for Weight for age (WFA)/Body Mass Index (BMI) for age (for children above 108 months), and to evaluate association between underweight and various socio-demographic factors.
Materials and Methods
A total of 444 children aged 2-12 years (24-144 months) were enrolled in the study. The children’s anthropometric measurements were taken using the standard operating procedures; the socio-demographic particulars were obtained using a pretested validated questionnaire, after obtaining written consent from their parents. The anthropometric data was analyzed using WHO Anthro and Anthro plus Softwares. Underweight and severe underweight was diagnosed if WFA Z score <= -2 standard deviation [SD] and
Results: Overall prevalence of under nutrition among the children 24-144 months of age was 30.8%. Among children in the age groups of 24-59 months, 60-119 months and 120-144 months, the prevalence of underweight/thinness was 27.9%, 31.3% and 26.4%, respectively. Severe underweight/thinness in the same age groups was 7.1%, 10.7%, and 11.3%, respectively. The socio- demographic factors significantly associated with underweight were education status of mother, occupation of father, number of siblings, type of family and religion (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Mild to moderate under nutrition was common among the children of the island and affects boys slightly more than girls, however, severe underweight is more prevalent in girls.