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Prevalence of underweight, stunting and wasting among urban poor children aged 1- 5 years of West Bengal, India

Author: 
Samiran Bisai, Tarapada Ghosh and Kaushik Bose
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

To assess the nutritional status among urban poor children aged 1-5 years a cross sectional study was undertaken during February-June 2006 in three municipal wards of North 24-Parganas district, West Bengal, India. All information like age, sex, religion, caste, weight and height were collected from each subject through questionnaire following simple random sampling method. Nutritional status was assessed based on weight-for-age, height-for-age and weight-for-height z-score method. Undernutrition was defined as Z-score below -2.0 SD from the National Centre for Health Statistics (NCHS) reference population. A total of 899 children (boys=517; girls=382) aged 1-5 years were included in the present study. Overall, the prevalence of underweight, stunting and wasting was 63.6 (95% CI: 60.5 - 66.8) %, 52.7% (95% CI: 49.5-56.0) and 22.0% (95% CI: 19.6-25.1). Overall, 16.7 % (CI: 14.1-19.0), 25.1% (CI: 22.3-28.0) and 5.3% (CI: 4.0- 6.9) children were found to be severely underweight, stunted and wasted, respectively. Moreover, the prevalence of underweight was significantly higher among tribal (71.5%) children than Muslim (67.2%) and Hindu (57.6%) children. On the other hand, the prevalence of stunting and wasting was higher among Hindu and Muslim children, respectively. In addition, according to WHO (1995) criteria for severity of malnutrition, the overall prevalence of underweight, stunting and wasting were very high indicating a critical situation. Therefore, appropriate health policies and measures must be implemented to reduce the burden imposed by poverty on childhood health and nutritional stress among these areas.

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