Anthropometric status, anaemia and intestinal helminthic infections in shantytown and apartment schoolchildren in the Sanliurfa province of Turkey.Eur J Clin Nutr 2004; 58(7):1056-61EJ
To study anthropometric status, anaemia and intestinal helminthic infections of schoolchildren living in better and worse socio-economic and environmental conditions in the Sanliurfa province of Turkey.
Cross-sectional school-based survey.
The sample was selected using a multistage random cluster sampling technique. The urban area of the province is stratified into two strata on the basis of environmental conditions: shantytowns and apartment areas. A total of 12 schools in the shantytown areas and five schools in the apartment areas were randomly selected based on probability proportional size in the two strata. A third class (including 9-10 y-old children) was randomly selected in each school and all children in this class were selected for the survey.
A total of 806 children, 572 of them from shantytown schools and 234 from apartment schools, took part in the surveys. Height for age, weight for age and weight for height were calculated by New Anthro software using the NCHS/WHO international reference values. The haemoglobin concentration was measured by the cyanmethaemoglobin method. Stool samples were examined by the semiquantative Kato-Katz technique.
Evidence of chronic ill health was common due to undernutrition, anaemia and helminthic infections in shantytown schools. Both male and female children in shantytown schools had higher stunting rates than those of apartment schools. Underweight was significantly associated with the sex of the children in shantytown schools in that the boys had a significantly higher underweight rate than girls (P: 0.04), but this rate did not differ between sexes in apartment schools. Wasting was significantly associated with the type of settlements; the girls in apartment schools had a significantly higher wasting rate than those of shantytown schools (P: 0.02). The children in shantytown schools had significantly higher anaemia rates (45%) than those of apartment schools (15%) (P: 0.01). The prevalence of intestinal helminthic infections was significantly higher in shantytown schools (63%) than apartment schools (37%) (P < 0.0001). Ascaris lumbricoides was the most prevalent helminth and followed by Trichuris trichiura, Hymenolepis nana and Taenia species in both the study areas. Infection in children was significantly related to stunting in shantytown schools (multiple R = 0.147; P: 0.005) and in apartment schools (multiple R = 0.171; P: 0.02).
These results indicated that the prevalence of stunting, anaemia and intestinal helminth infections constitutes an important public health problem among shantytown schoolchildren. School health programmes including deworming, feeding and micronutrient iron supplements through health education have a potentially beneficial effect on the health and education of schoolchildren.