Document Type

Article

Department

Community Health Sciences

Abstract

Objective: A high proportion of stunting and wasting in children under-five has been reported from developing countries. This paper presents the nutritional status of a two year cohort of urban squatter children in Karachi, Pakistan and assesses risk factors for wasting and stunting at the reference ages of six, twelve and twenty-four months.Methods: A birth cohort of 738 children were visited at specific intervals by trained nurses to collect information on anthropometric measurements, feeding practices and intercurrent illnesses. Socioeconomic and demographic information included water and sanitation facilities, availability of electricity, type of house construction material and average monthly income. Information about the mother's reproductive history was also obtained.Results: At two years the proportion of stunting and wasting was 41.8% and 10.6% respectively. Intrauterine growth retarded children had a higher risk of stunting and wasting at all reference ages as compared to children who were appropriate for gestational age. In the logistic regression models, intrauterine growth retardation was the only significant risk factor that remained in all models at each reference age.CONCLUSION: The consistent association of IUGR for stunting and wasting adds to the growing body of evidence that by improving maternal health we will ultimately break the vicious cycle of malnourishment and improve the health and well-being of future generations. We suggest interventions to improve the nutritional status of Pakistani urban children living in squatter settlements focused on mothers and children.

Publication

Journal of Pakistan Medical Association

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