Behaviour Problems in Young Children in Rural Bangladesh

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Abstract

Objective

To determine the prevalence of child behaviour problems reported by parents in rural Bangladesh.

Methods

A total of 4003 children aged 2–9 years were identified during a population-based survey of 2231 households. A predetermined sample of 499 was selected, of which health professionals saw 453 (90.8%) for structured physical and neurological examination, standardized testing of cognition and adaptive behaviour and parent report of developmental history and behaviour problems.

Results

The prevalence of behaviour impairments was 14.6% (95% CI 11.4, 17.9). The majority involved somatic complaints, including nocturnal enuresis and pica. Problems such as aggression or restlessness were infrequently reported. Behaviour impairments were significantly associated with malnutrition (prevalence ratio 2.1, 95% CI 1.2, 3.6, p < 0.01) and cognitive, motor or seizure disabilities (prevalence ratio 1.8, 95% CI 1.1, 2.9, p < 0.05).

Conclusions

The prevalence and nature of reported behaviour impairments in rural Bangladesh have implications for public health planning and delivery of health services.

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