Nutritional status in rural Karnataka
The prevalence of underweight children in India is among the highest in the world, and is nearly double that of Sub-Saharan Africa. The effect of malnutrition is high morbidity and mortality among young children. The objective of this study was to determine the nutritional status of children aged between 3-6 years registered in government sponsored maternal and child care Anganwadi centres in India.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in 35 centres in 11 villages situated in the field practice area of Community Medicine Department of a Medical College situated in Southern India.
Of the 585 children in the study, 46.5% of the children were aged between 36 to 48 months. Assessment of nutritional status using the ICDS growth chart revealed malnourishment to be present among 189 (32.3%) children, of whom 166 children were grade I malnourished and 23 children were grade II malnourished. Proportionally girls (46.2%) were more malnourished than boys (33.6%). No significant association was found between the nutritional status of children and their duration of stay in an Anganwadi centre (p-value=0.56).
The findings of this study indicate that malnutrition is still an important problem even among children attending Anganwadis. Further improvements in functioning of Integrated Child Development Services need to be made in order to address the problem of malnutrition.