Role of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Causing Severe Malnourishment among Children - Evidence from a Case-Controlled Study in Central Indian District


  • King George's Medical University, Lucknow, India
  • King George's Medical University, Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, Lucknow, India


This study was conducted with an aim to determine the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) related practices in families having one or more severely malnourished child and comparing them with that of families with non-malnourished children as control. A community based unmatched case-control study was conducted involving 169 cases and 338 controls. Data on different practices related to water, sanitation, and hygiene followed by families of cases and controls were collected. The questions included source, storage and pre treatment of drinking water, hand washing practices, vector protection methods and method of disposing of various kinds of wastes. A multi variable analysis of selected variables was undertaken. The proportion of males and females among cases was 46.7 and 54.3% respectively. The proportion of families of cases and control which practised any kind of disinfection of drinking water was 38.5 and 78.1% respectively. Strongest factor which increased the odds of being severely malnourished were lack of water, disinfection before drinking, no hand washing before feeding a child, not using disinfectant solution for mopping the floor and defecating in the open. To counter severe malnutrition it is necessary need to broaden the focus and move from nutrition based intervention to include water, sanitation and hygienic practices into the prospect of malnutrition elimination.


Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, Severe Malnutrition.

Subject Discipline

Alternative Medicine

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