Document Type

Article

Department

Community Health Sciences

Abstract

Background: Child labour is common in low- and middle-income countries. Although child labour is widespread in Pakistan, no data are available on the health of child labourers.
Aims: This study aimed to assess the food security, food intake and nutritional status of child labourers aged 5-14 years working in lower Sindh, Pakistan.
Methods: Child labourers aged 5-14 years working in agriculture, manufacturing industry, hotels and restaurants, domestic work and migrant child labourers working in vegetable markets were recruited using a respondent-driven sampling technique. Sociodemographic and nutrition information was obtained by an interviewer questionnaire. The children's height and weight were measured to assess stunting (height-for-age z scores less than -2) and wasting (weightfor- height z scores less than -2).
Results: A total of 634 child labourers were included: 184 worked in agriculture, 120 in industry, 67 in hotels and restaurants, 63 in domestic work and 200 were migrant child labourers. Overall, 15.5% of the children were stunted and 30.0% were wasted. The prevalence of stunting was highest in children working in agriculture (27.2%) and the prevalence of wasting was highest in migrant child workers (35.0%). About half the children (51.1%) were suffering from food insecurity. Food inadequacy was mainly in consumption of vegetables/potatoes (98% of the children had inadequate intake), legumes (97%), fruits (96%), meat/ poultry (95%) and milk/dairy products (82%).
Conclusion: The nutritional status and food insecurity of the child labourers of Pakistan are comparable with the general population, highlighting the grave situation of the country with regard to food security.

Publication

Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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