Prevalence of under nutrition and associated maternal risk factors in children under five years of age in Babylon 2013

  • Ahmed Abdul Abbas D.C.H
  • Sura Kuhtan Mohammed M.B.Ch.B
Keywords: Under nutrition, maternal risk factors, children, Babylon


Background:Malnutrition is one of most serious world health problems and is the major cause of illness and death throughout the world. It is associated with about half of all child death. It affects physical growth, morbidity, mortality, cognitive development, reproduction, and physical work capacity, and it consequently impact on human performance, health and survival. Thus, when attempting to reduce child mortality, monitoring and reducing the prevalence of malnutrition in vulnerable population is essential. Malnutrition is an outcome of various factors resulting from unfavorable socioeconomic circumstances.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of undernutrition (wasting, stunting and underweight) and associated maternal risk factors of children under 5years in Babylon.

Methods:  Across-sectional study design was used to study a group of 400 children, aged 2- 60 months. The sample was convenient, the data collected from four health centers during the period from 25th of February to 10th of May 2013. Assessment of maternal risk factors for child malnutrition was accomplished through a structured questionnaire used to interview child’s mother. The anthropometric measurements were assessed according to standard techniques used to calculate z-score for height for age (stunting), weight for height (wasting) and weight for age (underweight). As reference curve, the World Health Organization Child Growth Standard was used

Results: The prevalence of malnutrition of children under five years in Babylon was 19.25% found as 15% for stunting, 3%for wasting and 4.75% for underweight. The majority 52% were males, 48% were females. Malnutrition was higher among children aged 13-24months (35%) and higher among family who had three or more children less than 5 years (16%). Also the study revealed that malnutrition was higher among mothers who had primary education (62%). Higher prevalence (66%) was present among children who live in rural area. In this study, the prevalence of acute malnutrition (wasting) was higher among infant aged 2-12 months (84%) and higher prevalence of wasting (50%) among those children who had history of illness (acute or chronic).

Conclusion: There was high prevalence of malnutrition in Babylon and there are several risk factors associated with malnutrition. Prominent risk factors include low educated mothers, child age, child birth order, high numbers of children under five years and living in rural area.