Undernutrition, intestinal parasitic infection and associated risk factors among selected primary school children in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.BMC Infect Dis. 2018 08 13; 18(1):394.BI
Monitoring of undernutrition and parasitic infection are essential to design appropriate intervention strategies. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of undernutrition, intestinal parasitic infection and their associated risk factors among school children in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.
A school-based cross-sectional survey was conducted from February to June 2014 among 382 students selected from primary schools in Bahir Dar. The study subjects were selected by a systematic random sampling method. Sociodemographic data from students and their family/guardians were obtained using structured questionnaire. Height and weight of the students were measured using a standard calibrated balance. Fresh fecal samples were collected and processed using formalin-ether concentration technique. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 20.0 statistical software.
The overall prevalence of undernutrition was 41.6% (18.3% stunted, 26.7% thinness and 25.9% underweight). Meal frequency ≤ 3 times a day (AOR=4.11; 95% CI: 2.23-7.59) and family monthly income <500 birr (AOR=5.87; 95% CI: 2.61-13.23) were important predictors of undernutrition. The risk of stunting was increased among students with meal frequency ≤ 3 times a day (AOR=5.56; 95% CI: 2.97-10.41) and age ranges from 9-10 years (AOR=3.02; 95% CI: 1.41-6.47). The odds of thinness was significantly increased among students with parasitic infection (AOR=1.92; 95% CI: 1.15-3.19) and family monthly income <1500 birr (AOR=2.69; 95% CI: 1.16-6.26). The likelihood of being underweight was increased among students infected with intestinal parasites (AOR=2.43; 95% CI: 1.40-4.22). The overall prevalence of intestinal parasitosis was 52.4%. The risk of parasitic infection was significantly increased among students with unclean fingernails (AOR=4.96; 95% CI: 2.79-8.82) and irregular hand washing habit (AOR=8.05; 95% CI: 4.66-13.89).
This study revealed that undernutrition and intestinal parasitic infection were public health problems among school children in the study areas. These results highlight the importance for integrated efforts to address undernutrition and parasitic infection.