An epidemiological study of malnutrition in children from six months to five years of age to assess the prevalence and factors related to it, in a rural area of Palghar district of Maharashtra

Anita G. Shenoy, Jalindar Pandurang Baravakar, Rupesh D. Shinde


Background: High economic growth in India in the last two decades has unfortunately not been translated into satisfactory progress on reducing hunger and malnutrition. The study aims to determine the prevalence of malnutrition in children from 6 months to five years of age, to find out the socio-demographic, environmental and other factors associated with acute malnutrition and to suggest appropriate recommendations based on observations.

Methods: The area selected for the study is the rural field practice area of Topiwala National Medical College. The study population taken for this was children between the ages of 6 months to 5 years. The study was a community based descriptive cross-sectional epidemiological study.

Results: In the study area, 56.30% children were underweight, 52.96% were stunted and 27.8% were wasted. Majority of the children (96.7%) in this area were Hindu. Majority of the children belong to class IV of socioeconomic class (Modified B.G.Prasad). Maximum children (28.15%) were in the age group of 25 to 36 months. 67.78% children were living in joint families. About 79% mothers were literate at least up to primary education.

Conclusion: The prevalence of malnutrition among all 3 forms i. e underweight, stunting, wasting was slightly more among male children as compared to females, and this can be taken as a positive sign for female child. The literacy rate was quite satisfactory; the diet of children was inadequate for calories and proteins as well as micronutrients.


Malnutrition in children, Socio-demographic factors, Rural area

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