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Parasite and maternal risk factors for malnutrition in preschool-age children in Belen, Peru using the new WHO Child Growth Standards

  • Martin Casapía (a1), Serene A. Joseph (a2), Carmen Núñez (a1), Elham Rahme (a2) (a3) and Theresa W. Gyorkos (a2) (a3)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007114507795272
  • Published online: 01 December 2007
Abstract

Child malnutrition, including wasting, underweight and stunting, is associated with infections, poor nutrient intake, and environmental and socio-demographic factors. Preschool-age children are especially vulnerable due to their high growth requirements. To target interventions for preschool-age children in a community of extreme poverty in Peru, we conducted a household survey between October 2005 and January 2006 to determine the prevalence of malnutrition and its risk factors. Of 252 children < 5 years old, the prevalence of wasting, underweight and stunting was 26·6, 28·6 and 32·1 %, respectively, based on the new WHO Child Growth Standards. Risk factors for wasting were: (1) moderate–high intensity Trichuris infection (OR 2·50; 95 % CI 1·06, 5·93); (2) hookworm infection (OR 6·67; 95 % CI 1·08, 41·05); (3) age (OR6-month 1·27; 95 % CI 1·11, 1·46); (4) maternal education (secondary incomplete) (OR 5·77; 95 % CI 2·38, 13·99); and (5) decreasing maternal BMI (OR1 kg/m2 1·12; 95 % CI 1·02, 1·23). Risk factors for underweight were: (1) moderate–high intensity Trichuris infection (OR 4·74; 95 % CI 1·99, 11·32); (2) age (OR6-month 1·22; 95 % CI 1·07, 1·38); (3) maternal education (secondary incomplete) (OR 2·92; 95 % CI 1·40, 6·12); and (4) decreasing maternal BMI (OR1 kg/m2 1·11; 95 % CI 1·02, 1·21). Risk factors for stunting were: (1) age (OR6-month 1·14; 95 % CI 1·02, 1·27) and (2) decreasing maternal height (OR1 cm 1·12; 95 % CI 1·06, 1·20). Overall, risk factors for malnutrition included both child and maternal determinants. Based on these data, locally appropriate and cost-effective dietary, de-worming and educational programmes should be targeted to mothers and preschool-age children.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Dr Theresa W. Gyorkos, Division of Clinical Epidemiology, McGill University Health Centre, fax +1 514 934 8293, email theresa.gyorkos@mcgill.ca
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  • EISSN: 1475-2662
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