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Print version ISSN 0120-4157
On-line version ISSN 2590-7379


ALCARAZ, Gloria et al. Nutritional status and living conditions in children in an urban area of Turbo, Antioquia, Colombia. Biomédica [online]. 2008, vol.28, n.1, pp.87-96. ISSN 0120-4157.

Introduction. Malnutrition is a problem for the persons who suffer it and for the future of the societies to whom they belong. It is important to know its magnitude in order formulate solutions. Objective. The nutritional status of young children was evaluated in an urban area using anthropometric indices and factors associated with risk of malnutrition were identified-socio-demgraphic,environmental, nutritional, and health factors. Materials and methods. In 2004, a cross-sectional descriptive survey was applied to 606 children, aged less than 5 years, in Turbo, a municipality in northwestern Colombia. A proportional, randomized, statistically significant sample of all the neighborhoods of the urban area in Turbo was used. Anthropometric evaluation (weight, height and age) was performed in all subjects, and a questionnaire regarding the socio-economical and nutritional background of the children was submitted to mothers and caregivers. Results. The prevalence percentages were as follows: low weight (11.1%-CI 8.5-13.6), stunting (11.7%-CI 9.1-14.4) and starvation (2.8%- CI 1.4-4.2). When a cut-off point of -1 Z score was applied, the prevalence increased to 41.7% (CI 37.7-45.8), 36.9% (CI 33.0-40.9) and 24.6% (CI 21.1-28.1) respectively. Bivariate analyses showed greater risks of global, severe and chronic malnutrition for males.  Greater risk for global and chronic malnutrition occurred for children older than one year. Risk of chronic malnutrition was associated with the following conditions:  children belonging to households with more than five people, children of mothers with low educational level, for children being breastfed for more than one year, and children who have a higher number of brothers. Conclusions. An increased risk of malnutrition was present in the Turbo population when compared with the national anthropometric indices. The nutritional status of Turbo urban children is associated with several distinct socio-economical factors; these must be considered when implementing programs for the nutritional rehabilitation of this population

Keywords : nutritional status; child nutrition disorders; social conditions; health status indicators; breast feeding; supplementary feeding; health public policy.

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