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Nutritional Status of Preschool Children and Its Associates: A Sri Lankan Experience of a Fishing Community
European Journal of Preventive Medicine
Volume 3, Issue 2-1, March 2015, Pages: 31-35
Received: Dec. 24, 2014; Accepted: Jan. 16, 2015; Published: Mar. 2, 2015
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Chandrasekara Karunamuni Pushpika Sudarshini De Silva, Medical Officer, Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, Galle, Sri Lanka
De Silva Hiranthi, Consultant in Community Medicine, Former director- Mental Health, Ministry of Health, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Indrapala Waldeniyage Kolitha Prasanna, Medical Officer, Base Hospital, Balapitiya, Sri Lanka
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Introduction: Childhood malnutrition remains one of the most challenging global public health problems. To combat this problem, it is essential to reveal the magnitude of malnutrition and underlying socio- cultural factors influencing child feeding and raring. Despite satisfactory income levels, fishing families have low standards of living due to their different life styles and behavioral attitudes which can contribute to poor nutritional status among their children. Methodology: A cross sectional study was conducted among a group of marine fishing families in MOH area Ambalangoda. Study population consisted of all children (189) aged 1-5 years. Height and weight and nutritional status were assessed. Pre tested interviewer administered questionnaire was used to evaluate the selected socio-demographic and cultural factors of these families affecting the nutritional status. Results: Prevalence of different forms of malnutrition reported was underweight-31%, stunting-23% and wasting-11.2%. Prevalence of alcoholism was 37.9% while smoking was 45.5%. Parental level of education, mother’s employment status was not significantly related to the nutritional status. Significant association was found between maternal literacy with underweight and wasting while literacy of father with stunting. Father being an alcoholic was significantly related to wasting, stunting and underweight. Father’s state of smoking has also being identified as a significant associate of underweight and stunting. Method adopted to dispose excreta of children also found to be significantly associated factor with underweight of their preschool children. Conclusions and recommendations: Parental literacy, father’s substance abuse was identified as associated factors for malnutrition in this community and health educational and promotional programmes should be targeted towards these factors using audio visual aids considering the levels of literacy of parents.
Nutritional Status, Malnutrition, Preschool Children, Fishing Families, Associates
To cite this article
Chandrasekara Karunamuni Pushpika Sudarshini De Silva, De Silva Hiranthi, Indrapala Waldeniyage Kolitha Prasanna, Nutritional Status of Preschool Children and Its Associates: A Sri Lankan Experience of a Fishing Community, European Journal of Preventive Medicine. Special Issue: New Frontiers of Public Health from the Pearl of Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka. Vol. 3, No. 2-1, 2015, pp. 31-35. doi: 10.11648/j.ejpm.s.2015030201.16
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