A community based study to assess the prevalence and sociodemographic factors influencing undernutrition among children aged 6 to 14 years in a rural area of Coimbatore

Xavier C. Rajan, Ravishankar .


Background: Globally, malnutrition among school age children is a major public health concern. The objectives of the study were to determine the prevalence of under nutrition (thinness and stunting) among children aged 6 to 14 years in a rural area of Coimbatore district; to determine the socio-demographic factors influencing under nutrition (thinness and stunting) among these children.

Methods: A community based- cross sectional study was conducted from December 2015 to July 2016 in the field practice area of PSG Rural Health Training Center Vedapatti. Out of the 14 villages in this area, five villages (clusters) were selected by cluster sampling. Data was collected from 702 children aged 6 to 14 years in these five villages using a structured questionnaire. Z score was used to calculate nutritional status. Thinness is defined as the BMI for age (BAZ) <-2SD.Stunting is defined as the Height-for-age (HAZ) <-2SD.The association of Thinness with socio-demographic factors were studied by univariate analysis. The association of Stunting with socio-demographic factors were studied by univariate analysis and logistic regression analysis.

Results: The prevalence of Thinness was 15.5% (95%CI: 12.82% to 18.18%) and that of stunting was 18.8% (95%CI: 15.91% to 21.69%). In univariate analysis there was no statistically significant association between thinness and socio-demographic factors. Stunting showed statistically significant association with educational status (illiteracy) of mothers and working mothers in logistic regression analysis.

Conclusions: The current study revealed that undernutrition as indicated by thinness and stunting was prevalent to some extent among these children. Stunting was significantly higher among those children whose mothers were illiterate and working. Health education and encouraging working mothers will help to solve this.


Thinness, Stunting, BAZ, HAZ, Coimbatore

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