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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)...

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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