Evaluating risk factors for protein-energy malnutrition in children under the age of six years: a case-control study from Iran
Afshan Sharghi1, Aziz Kamran2, Mohammad Faridan3
1Department of Community Medicine, Medical School, Ardebil University of Medical Sciences, Ardebil, 2Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, 3Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health, Lorestan University of Medical Sciences, Lorestan, Iran
Introduction: Protein-energy malnutrition is one of the most important public health problems in Iran. It not only accounts for more than half of child mortality but can also produce somatic and mental impairment in survivors. The main aim of this study was to identify risk factors for protein-energy malnutrition in children under 6 years of age in Namin city.
Methods: This was a population-based, multicenter case-control study. Seventy-six children with malnutrition and 76 children without malnutrition were randomly recruited for case and control groups. The prevalence of risk factors in the two groups was compared. Data were gathered from a health center database and interviews with mothers and health workers. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test and logistic regression were used for data analysis.
Results: Female gender, poverty, short maternal height, and use of unhygienic latrines in the home were significantly associated with childhood malnutrition (P , 0.05).
Conclusion: The results of this study indicate four main factors (poverty, small maternal height, female gender, and absence of hygienic latrines in the home) as underlying factors in malnutrition of children under the age of 6 years.
Keywords: protein-energy malnutrition, children, risk factors, Namin
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