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Child malnutrition is a major public health concern worldwide, leading to higher morbidity and mortality. It is mostly preventable through public health and economic development. The aim of the present study was to determine socio-economic factors associated with nutritional status among children in plantation communities, Sri Lanka.
A cross-sectional study was performed among preschool and school going children in three rural communities of Sri Lanka from January to August 2014. Demographic and household characteristics were documented and anthropometric measurements were collected to calculate weight-for-age (WAZ), height-for-age (HAZ) and BMI-for-age (BAZ). Anthroplus, epiinfo and SPSS versions were used for the analysis of data.
A total of 547 children (aged 1–15 years, mean 7.0 ± 3.6 years, 53% female) participated in the study. 35.6%, 26.9% and 32.9% of children were underweight, stunting and wasting respectively. Undernutrition was more common in primary school children. Maternal employment, high number of siblings, high birth orders and female children were significantly associated with undernutrition among preschool children. Living in small houses, large number of family members, low monthly income and maternal employment were significantly associated with undernutrition among school children.
Child undernutrition is a major public health concern in the plantation sector, Sri Lanka. Health education programs among the study population could be effective for solving the problem.