Prevalence and Correlates of Stunting among Primary School Children in Rural Areas of Southern Pakistan

Aga Khan University, Pakistan, Kurrachee, Sindh, Pakistan
Journal of Tropical Pediatrics (Impact Factor: 1.26). 05/2005; 51(2):72-7. DOI: 10.1093/tropej/fmh067
Source: PubMed


Protein-energy malnutrition is one of the leading causes of childhood morbidity and mortality in developing countries. The purpose of the present study was to measure the prevalence of stunting and its correlates among school children aged 6-12 years in the rural areas of southern Pakistan. We selected 1915 children aged 6-12 years enrolled in 32 primary schools in rural Sindh, Pakistan. Trained community health workers conducted child height and weight measurements and collected information from the parents. The Z-scores for the distribution of height-for-age, weight-for-age, and weight-for-height relative to those of National Center for Health Statistics/Center of Disease Control and prevention (NCHS/CDC) reference population were calculated. Out of 1915 children, 300 (16.5 per cent) were stunted. Female children compared to males were more likely to be stunted (prevalence ratio (PR) = 1.26; 95 per cent confidence interval (CI): 1.02-1.53). Children older than 7 years were more likely to be stunted (PR, 1.40; CI, 1.14-1.72). Fathers who were working as government employees (PR, 1.71; CI, 1.05-2.79), shopkeepers (PR, 2.00; CI, 1.22-3.26) and farmers (PR, 1.43; CI, 0.93-2.22) were more likely to have children who were stunted when compared to landlords. In rural areas of southern Pakistan, sex of child, age of the child, and father's occupation may be considered as important risk factors for stunting among school children aged 6-12 years.

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    • "Therefore, the low socio-economic background of these children suggests that factors such as education, occupation and economic status of parents may also account for the high prevalence of under nutrition among our study (Goon et al., 2011). Three studies reported the prevalence of stunting 14 to 17% and wasting (25 to 32%) among school-aged children in Pakistan using the World Health Organization/National Centre of Health Statistics (WHO/NCHS) reference (Khuwaja et al., 2005). "

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    • "This was the first study in Pakistan to report prevalence estimates for under-nutrition among school-aged children based on the WHO reference 2007. We could find only three studies in previous literature with a representative sample that report prevalence of stunting (14-17%) and wasting (25-32%) among school-aged children in Pakistan using the World Health Organization/National Centre of Health Statistics (WHO/NCHS) reference [11-13]. Prevalence of stunting and underweight among urban school-aged children in Pakistan has been reported as 17% and 30% respectively in 1990-94 (National Health Survey of Pakistan, n = 1670) that decreased to 14% and 27% respectively in 2004-05 (Karachi survey, n = 1381) [13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Child growth is internationally recognized as an important indicator of nutritional status and health in populations. Child under-nutrition is estimated to be the largest contributor to global burden of disease, and it clusters in South Asia but literature on under-nutrition among school-aged children is difficult to find in this region. The study aimed to assess the prevalence and socio-demographic correlates of stunting and thinness among Pakistani primary school children. A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted with a representative multistage cluster sample of 1860 children aged 5-12 years in Lahore, Pakistan. Stunting (< -2 SD of height-for-age z-score) and thinness (< -2 SD of BMI-for-age z-score) were defined using the World Health Organization reference 2007. Chi-square test was used as the test of trend. Logistic regression was used to quantify the independent predictors of stunting and thinness and adjusted odds ratios (aOR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) were obtained. Linear regression was used to explore the independent determinants of height- and BMI-for-age z-scores. Statistical significance was considered at P < 0.05. Eight percent (95% CI 6.9-9.4) children were stunted and 10% (95% CI 8.7-11.5) children were thin. Stunting and thinness were not significantly associated with gender. Prevalence of stunting significantly increased with age among both boys and girls (both P < 0.001) while thinness showed significant increasing trend with age among boys only (P = 0.034). Significant correlates of stunting included age > 8 years, rural area and urban area with low SES, low-income neighborhoods, lower parental education, more siblings, crowded housing and smoking in living place (all P < 0.001). Significant correlates of thinness included rural area and urban area with low SES, low-income neighborhoods and lower parental education (all P < 0.001), and age > 10 years (P = 0.003), more siblings (P = 0.016) and crowded housing (P = 0.006). In multivariate logistic regression analyses adjusted simultaneously for all factors, older age (aOR 3.60, 95% CI 1.89-6.88), urban area with low SES (aOR 2.58, 95% CI 1.15-5.81) and low-income neighborhoods (aOR 4.62, 95% CI 1.63-13.10) were associated with stunting while urban area with low SES (aOR 2.28, 95% CI 1.21-4.30) was associated with thinness. In linear regression analyses adjusted for all factors, low-income neighborhoods and older age were associated with lower height-for-age z-score while rural area with low/disadvantaged SES was associated with lower BMI-for-age z-score. Relatively low prevalence of stunting and thinness depicted an improvement in the nutritional status of school-aged children in Pakistan. However, the inequities between the poorest and the richest population groups were marked with significantly higher prevalence of stunting and thinness among the rural and the urban poor, the least educated, the residents of low-income neighborhoods and those having crowded houses. An increasing trend with age was observed in prevalence of stunting and thinness. Smoking in living place was associated with stunting. Findings suggest the need to implement evidence-based child health policy and strategies, prioritizing the poor and socially disadvantaged population.
    BMC Public Health 10/2011; 11(1):790. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-11-790 · 2.26 Impact Factor
    • "A cross-sectional study from eight provinces in China revealed a prevalence of stunting in the age group 10-18 years of 23% in 1991, which decreased to 19% in 1993.24 Using the 1978 NCHS/WHO reference, the prevalence of stunting (defined as height for age z score < -2 SD) in a rural region of South Africa was reported to be between 5% and 7% in children and adolescents 5-20 years of age.25 Similar prevalence levels of 5.7% were reported from Turkey in school children 6-16 years of age,26 whereas a study in rural Pakistan reported a prevalence of 16.5% in school children 6-12 years of age.27 "
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    ABSTRACT: Data on stature in Saudi children and adolescents are limited. The objective of this report was to establish the national prevalence of short stature in Saudi children and adolescents. Community-based, cross-sectional study conducted over 2 years (2004, 2005) The national data set of the Saudi reference was used to calculate the stature for age for children and adolescents 5 to 18 years of age. Using the 2007 World Health Organization (WHO) reference, the prevalence of moderate and severe short stature was defined as the proportion of children whose standard deviation score for stature for age was less than -2 and -3, respectively. In addition, the 2000 Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the older 1978 National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)/WHO references were used for comparison. Using the 2007 WHO reference, sample size in the Saudi reference was 19 372 healthy children and adolescents 5 to 17 years of age, with 50.8% being boys. The overall prevalence of moderate and severe short stature in boys was 11.3% and 1.8%, respectively; and in girls, 10.5% and 1.2%, respectively. The prevalence of moderate short stature was 12.1%, 11% and 11.3% in boys and 10.9%, 11.3% and 10.5% in girls when the 1978 WHO, the 2000 CDC and the 2007 WHO references were used, respectively. The national prevalence of short stature in Saudi children and adolescents is intermediate compared with the international level. Improvement in the socioeconomic and health status of children and adolescents should lead to a reduction in the prevalence of short stature.
    Annals of Saudi medicine 03/2011; 31(5):498-501. DOI:10.4103/0256-4947.84628 · 0.49 Impact Factor
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