Nutritional Assessment of the Children of the Beta Israel Community in Ethiopia: A 2017 Update.Breastfeed Med. 2018 03; 13(2):149-154.BM
Malnutrition is a common phenomenon worldwide and a major public health problem, particularly in developing poorer countries like Ethiopia. Although malnutrition can affect any age group, children are at a higher risk and it is associated with an increased morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to update and assess the nutritional status of children of the Beta Israel community in the Gondar area of Ethiopia.
This was a community-based cross-sectional anthropometrical study of all the children of the community age 0-60 months. A structured questionnaire was used to collect sociodemographic data, nutritional history, and clinical parameters. Nutritional indices weight for age, height for age, and weight for height were used to define the nutritional status of the children. The 2006 World Health Organization (WHO) growth curves served as reference parameters. Statistical analysis included binary logistical regression analysis.
A total of 489 children, representing over 90% of the community's children were studied with the mean age and standard deviation of 36.5 and 18 months, respectively. The overall prevalence of malnutrition was found to be 39.1% with wasting, underweight, and stunting occurring in 22.1%, 26.2%, and 18.4% of the children, respectively. Severe wasting, severe underweight, and severe stunting occurred in 8.4%, 8.2% and 5.3% of the children, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that age was significantly associated with the occurrence of malnutrition with younger children being at a higher risk (p = 0.044). Gender of child, family income, maternal education, presence of illness in the month preceding data collection, and household size did not show any association with malnutrition prevalence.
The prevalence of malnutrition as measured by stunting, underweight, and wasting has remained high among children younger than 5 years of the Beta Israel community in Gondar. Moreover, younger children were found to be more malnourished than older children.