Online Program

Growth and nutrition of rural children in dhrangadhra, India

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Levani Odikadze, MPH(c), Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Ian Greaves, MBBS, FRACP, FAAS, Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Victoria Lawn, Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Jayasinhji Jhala, PhD, Department of Anthropology, Temple University, philadelphia, PA
Despite Government programs, childhood malnutrition remains a concern in rural India. This is attributed to poverty, drought, and inadequate food supply. Our research aimed to determine (i) the prevalence of childhood malnutrition in various rural communities; (ii) maternal knowledge about nutrition; and (iii) existing nutritional programs and their utilization. Height, weight and BMI were measured in 266 children aged 5–15 years in three different communities of Dhrangadhra, and results were compared with age- and gender-specific Indian reference norms. Ten mothers, four local pediatricians and two focus groups of mothers were interviewed, with assistance of local translators. Middle class children attending a private school (n=89, 63% males) showed a mix of underweight (11%) and overweight (10%) findings. Poor rural schoolchildren (n=82, 65% males) showed a high rate of those underweight (33%) and one overweight child. Children living in an extremely poor, “untouchable” community of snake charmers (n=95, 50% males) showed an increased prevalence of underweight (9%) but no overweight children. Mothers consistently had insufficient knowledge regarding basic nutrition, and Government programs to address childhood nutrition were ineffective in these communities. Child undernutrition remains a problem in Dhrangadhra, despite Government programs, and overnutrition may be an emerging problem among children from more affluent families. Knowledge of relevant Government nutrition programs is poor, and some Government health workers are inadequately trained or not implementing these programs with fidelity. Guided by these findings, culturally appropriate health messages will be delivered using local Indian partners and community leaders.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the prevalence and severity of malnutrition among children in the Dhrangadhra region in Gujarat, India Identify the main causes and risk factors of childhood malnutrition in terms of the conceptual framework Plan a public health program to address the problem of child malnutrition in the community

Keyword(s): Nutrition, Children's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a recent graduate of Temple University School of Public Health and a medical student at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. I have experience in global public health program development and research both abroad and in Philadelphia. My interests include refugee health, preventative medicine, nutrition and women's health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.