Assessment and Determinants of Nutritional Status in a Sample of Under Five-Year-Old Iraqi Children (Published)
The nutritional status of under five-year-old children is an important outcome measure of children’s health. Malnutrition is one of the most important causes of children’s abnormal physical and mental development. The study aims to find the prevalence and determinants of malnutrition in terms of wasting, stunting, and underweight, in addition to obesity in a sample of under five-year-old Iraqi children. A cross sectional study was conducted in three primary health care centres in Baghdad for the period from 3rd January to 31st March 2012. A sample of 606 under 5-year-old children (2-59 months) of both genders was included in the study. Data were gathered by direct interviews with the children’s parents, and the weight, height, and BMI measurements of each child were taken. The prevalence of different undernutrition problems among under five-year-old children were: 5.28% for wasting, 16.17% for stunting, and 7.43% for underweight. The highest prevalence was that of being being obese; 17.5% by weight to height and 15.35% by BMI to age. Malnutrition levels were higher in rural than in urban areas. A significant association was estimated between; the age of a child and being underweight, lower levels of parental education and stunting, and between extended families and stunting. The rates of being being obese were higher than that of those of undernutrition. The factors associated with undernutrition in under five-year-old children are especially related to lower socioeconomic status such as rural residence, lower levels of maternal education, unemployed mothers, and extended larger families.