OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of malnourishment, socioeconomicand maternal factors leading to malnourishment in children of less than 3 years of age in the two rural communities of Peshawar.
METHODOLOGY: This descriptive, cross sectional study was conducted in two rural areas of Peshawar from June to July 2012. The respondents were selected using a multistage sampling technique in order to get true representation of the population. A pre-tested structured questionnaire was used to conduct face-to-face interviews with mothers and weight of the < 3 years old children was recorded.
RESULTS: Out of 200 children, 121 (60.5%) were males and 79 (39.5%) were females. Malnutrition was observed in 70 (35%) children, majority(n=50; 71.4%) of which were in the age group 0-2 years. Out of 70 malnourished children, 17(24.3%) were in grade 1 category, 23 (32.8%) in grade II category while 30 (42.8%) children were in grade III malnutrition. Socioeconomic factors leading to malnutrition were large family size (n=61; 87.1%), poor socioeconomic status (n=47/70; 67.1%) and illiteracy of the mother (n=42; 60%). Maternal factors leading to malnutrition were younger age group (n=29; 41.42%) multi-parity of the mother (n=39; 55.7%) and maternal anemia (n=51; 72.8%).
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of malnutrition in the two rural areas of Peshawar is 35% in children under three years of age. Both socioeconomicand maternal factors were responsible for its high prevalence. A multidisciplinary approach is required to combat malnutrition in these communities of Peshawar.
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