Nutritional Status of Parents and their Pre-School Children
Keywords:Paternal Nutrition, Maternal Nutrition, Child Nutrition, Intra-Family Differences in Nutritional Status.
During 1970s poverty and household food inadequacy led to high under-nutrition rates in all age groups. Over years there has been an improvement in per capita income and household food security. In the last two decades there has been a steady decline in under-nutrition and increase in over-nutrition in adults, but child under-nutrition rates continue to be high. The present study was taken up in urban low income families, to assess the differences in the nutritional status of pre-school children and their parents. Height and weight measurements were taken in 3727 mother infant pairs; in 637 families father’s anthropometric parameters were available. Stunting, underweight and wasting rates in children were highest when the mothers were under-nourished (BMI <18.5) and least when the mother was over-nourished (BMI ?25). A similar but less distinct trend was observed in relation to nutritional status of the fathers and pre-school children. Even when the mother or father was under-nourished less than one fifth of the pre-school children were wasted and over 80% were normally nourished. Stunting rates were over 40% if the mother or father was in the lowest height tertile. However even when the father and mother were in the highest tertile for height, about one fourth of the children were stunted. These data suggest that maternal and paternal under-nutrition and low height are associated with higher child under-nutrition and stunting respectively. However, even when the mother or father was short or under-nourished, majority of the children were normal in height and normally nourished. In view of the intra-family differences in nutritional status, it is essential to undertake assessment of nutritional status of each member of the family and provide appropriate nutritional advice and intervention.
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