A Study on Risk Factors for Malnutrition among Primary School Children in Karnataka, South India

M Amrut, S. Dharaneesh Prasad, Sudeepti Panat, Vikash Kumar, Raju Hanumant Patil, Atul Saxena

Abstract


Background: Over one-fifth of Indian population comprises children aged 514 years, that is, the group covering primary and secondary education. Research studies indicate that nutritional deficiencies and poor health in primary school age children are important causes of low school enrolment, high absenteeism, early dropout, and poor classroom performance. Causes of malnutrition are complex, multidimensional, and interrelated. The objective of the study was to determine and compare the socio-demographic and dietary risk factors for malnutrition among government and private primary school children in Sullia town, South India. Materials and Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted during June 2011 to May 2012 in selected primary schools including 424 children consisting of 194 from two government schools and 230 from two private schools of Sullia town, Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka state, South India. A structured questionnaire was used. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 17. Height-for-age, weight-for-age, and BMI-for-age were calculated using WHO AnthroPlus Software and using WHO 2007 Reference values. Results: The prevalence of underweight, stunting, and thinness was 26.5%, 19.2%, and 26.5%, respectively. Malnourished children were higher among higher age group, males, government school children, Christian and Muslim religion, SC and ST castes, family size of more than 5, birth order of three or more, joint families, parents with lower education and lower occupation, lower class of socio-economic status, BPL families, and lesser dietary intake. Interpretation: The current nutritional status of primary school children is unsatisfactory. Statistically significant malnutrition was found among boys, children belonging to family size of more than 5 and joint families.

Keywords: Risk factors, malnutrition, children, primary schools


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Background: Over one-fifth of Indian population comprises children aged 514 years, that is, the group covering primary and secondary education. Research studies indicate that nutritional deficiencies and poor health in primary school age children are important causes of low school enrolment, high absenteeism, early dropout, and poor classroom performance. Causes of malnutrition are complex, multidimensional, and interrelated. The objective of the study was to determine and compare the socio-demographic and dietary risk factors for malnutrition among government and private primary school children in Sullia town, South India. Materials and Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted during June 2011 to May 2012 in selected primary schools including 424 children consisting of 194 from two government schools and 230 from two private schools of Sullia town, Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka state, South India. A structured questionnaire was used. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 17. Height-for-age, weight-for-age, and BMI-for-age were calculated using WHO AnthroPlus Software and using WHO 2007 Reference values. Results: The prevalence of underweight, stunting, and thinness was 26.5%, 19.2%, and 26.5%, respectively. Malnourished children were higher among higher age group, males, government school children, Christian and Muslim religion, SC and ST castes, family size of more than 5, birth order of three or more, joint families, parents with lower education and lower occupation, lower class of socio-economic status, BPL families, and lesser dietary intake. Interpretation: The current nutritional status of primary school children is unsatisfactory. Statistically significant malnutrition was found among boys, children belonging to family size of more than 5 and joint families.

Keywords: Risk factors, malnutrition, children, primary schools






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