Prevalence and Determinants of Undernutrition and its Trends among Pre-School Tribal Children of Maharashtra State, India

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A community-based cross-sectional study carried out in tribal areas of Maharashtra covering 1751 pre-school children to assess nutritional status. Nutritional status was assessed using new WHO Growth Standards. Household wealth index was constructed using principle component analysis. The prevalence of underweight, stunting and wasting was 64, 61 and 29%, respectively. There was a significant (p < 0.05) reduction in the prevalence of underweight and stunting over two time periods (1999 and 2008). Logistic regression showed that the risk of underweight was 1.7 times higher among children of illiterate mothers and those suffering from morbidities, while stunting was 1.4 times higher among children belonging to lowest and middle household’s wealth indexes. Undernutrition is a public health problem and is associated with literacy of mother, household wealth index and morbidities. Therefore, improving socio-economic condition along with literacy of mothers and preventing infections through personal hygiene might help in improving the nutritional status of children.

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