Malnutrition and anemia in children aged 6 to 59 months in the Autonomous Region of Príncipe and its relation to maternal health
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USP Espinho/Gaua Portugal
Faculdade de Ciências da Nutrição e Alimentação da Universidade do Porto
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1199
In low-income countries, malnutrition, including anemia, is a major cause of morbidity among children. Undernutrition and anemia in children will affect their growth, physical and cognitive development later in life, with consequences that extend beyond the individual. An analysis of malnutrition and anemia among children aged 6 to 59 months in the Autonomous Region of Principe was conducted.

A cross-sectional study was conducted in August 2018 on 218 children aged 6 to 59 months who accessed to health care. Weight for height/length, weight for age, and height/length for age were used to measure nutritional status, and hemoglobin concentration was determined using a portable hemoglobin analyzer. First, uni- and bivariate analyses will be conducted, followed by multiple logistic regression models.

The prevalence of wasting was 3.7%, stunting 12.8%, low weight 6%, overweight 3.7% and obesity 0.9%. It was found that 83% of the children were anemic, with most cases being moderate to severe. Child anemia was significantly associated with fever in recent weeks (p=0.017 adjOR 4.6 IC 1.3-16.0) and the lack of sanitary facilities (p<0.05 adjOR 2.2 IC 1.0-4.8) and in children between 6-11 months (p=0.01 adjOR 8.5 IC 1.7-42.7) and 12-23 months (p=0.03 adjOR 3.3 IC 1.1-10.0) comparable with children aged 48-59 months. Wasting was more frequent in rural areas (p<0.013, OR=4.5 IC 1.2-16.6). Low birth weight was significantly associated with stunting (p<0.012, OR=3.9 IC1.4-10-6) and low weight (p<0.001, OR=10.1 IC=3.0-33.7).

Anemia and stunting were most prevalent among children under two. The importance of vitamin supplementation at this stage is evident. Furthermore, the present study emphasizes the importance of maternal education in improving nutritional and anemia conditions. It also contributes to the development of strategies aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and improving health outcomes.