Factors associated with the nutritional status of children from primary schools in Chitungwiza: Secondary data analysis
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Background: Studies have shown high morbidity and mortality in primary school going children due to malnutrition. Few studies have looked at nutritional status of primary school going children in Chitungwiza and factors associated to this are poorly described. The aim of the present study was to assess common ailments and identify predictors of malnutrition in primary school children in Chitungwiza in order to enforce corrective and preventive measures. Methods: A secondary analysis of data obtained from the child health survey done at four selected primary schools in Chitungwiza in 2006 was used to assess the nutritional status of 241primary school going children in the area. Nutritional status was assessed using anthropometric measurements. The predictors of nutritional status were determined using logistic regression models. Results: 241primary school going children aged between 8 and 11 years took part in the study. Tooth decay was the most common health problem with prevalence of 32% followed by skin disease with prevalence of 19.9% and then vision with prevalence of 10.4% and 9.5% for right and left eyes respectively. Overall 54% were stunted, 62.4% were wasted and 38.1% were underweight. In the multivariate analysis, age of a child, education of mother, body mass index of a child and education of father (p<0.05) were found to be independently associated with nutritional status of primary school going children in Chitungwiza. Conclusion: Dental caries, skin diseases and vision were the most common health problems among primary school going children in Chitungwiza. Wasting was identified as the most common condition of malnutrition among these children. The study identified age of a child, education of mother, body mass index of a child and education of a father as predictors of malnutrition among primary school going children in Chitungwiza.