News article

Assessment of anthropometric failure among under-five children from urban slums of Jammu

Posted:  Friday, June 03, 2016

Health and nutritional status of under-five children from Jammu region

Poor nutritional status, particularly among vulnerable children, is a harbinger of growth failure, delayed developmental milestones, acute morbidity, and mortality. In a study published in the journal International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health, the association between anthropometry indices anddd various sociodemographic factors, feeding practices, and common morbidities were studied in under-five children from urban slums of Jammu region.

About 250 children registered with 8 randomly selected anganwadis from urban slums were selected. Detailed information on sociodemographic variables, immunisation coverage, child feeding practices, and infection or worm infestation episodes were obtained. Height and weight were measured as per standard WHO guidelines on anthropometry. The extent of anthropometric failure in children under five years of age was assessed using the Composite Index of Anthropometric Failure (CIAF). The prevalence of anaemia was determined in children above age one through haemoglobin estimation, and the dietary history was recorded using the 24-hour dietary recall method.

The ratio of male to female children was 1.5:1, with a mean age of 24.5 months. Overall, 88% children were breastfed, with 30.5% receiving exclusive breastfeeding. About 56% children were weaned at the age of 6 months. Diarrhoea and acute respiratory infection were observed in 39.6% and 38.4% of children, respectively. Moreover, 12.4% of the children had measles, 10% had worm infestations, and 64% were anaemic.

Underweight and stunting were common in children in the age groups of 13-24 and 25-36 months, respectively. Underweight, wasting, and stunting by conventional indices was observed in 38.8%, 20.4%, and 42.8% of the children, respectively. As per CIAF, 73.2% children were categorised under anthropometric failure. Morbidity and age at weaning were independent predictors of anthropometric failure. A high risk of anthropometric failure was seen in children who had more than three siblings, unsatisfactory living conditions, and whose mothers were illiterate or following faulty feeding practices.

CIAF provides a more accurate reflection of undernourishment than the weight-for-age Z score. CIAF is a simple tool that can facilitate community health workers, public health experts, and policymakers to estimate the burden of undernourishment in the community.

News Source: Predictors of anthropometric failure among under five slum children of Jammu, India. Dewan D, Kumar D, Gupta R. Int J Community Med Public Health. (2016), 3(1): 367-372.