Prevalence and Determinants of Under-Nutrition Among Children Under Six: A Cross-Sectional Survey in Fars Province, Iran

Document Type : Original Article


1 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Fars Petroleum Industry Health Organization, Fars, Iran

3 Department of Internal Medicine, Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran


Childhood malnutrition as a major public health problem among children in developing countries can affect physical and intellectual growth and is also considered as a main cause of child morbidity and mortality. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of under-nutrition and identify determinants of malnutrition among children under 6 years of age in Fars province, Iran.
This survey was conducted by house to house visit through multi-stage sampling in 30 cities of Fars province, during December 2012 to January 2013. A total of 15408 children, aged 0–6 years old, were studied for nutritional assessment in terms of underweight, stunting, and wasting. Also, socio-demographic measures were obtained from structured questionnaire. Backward stepwise logistic regression was used to relate underlying factors to the odds of under-nutrition indices.
The rates of stunting, underweight, and wasting were 9.53, 9.66, and 8.19%, respectively. Male children were more stunted compared to females (OR= 1.41, CI: 1.26–1.58). Also, stunting was significantly associated with lower family income (OR= 3.21, CI: 1.17–8.85) and lower maternal education (OR= 0.80, CI: 0.64–0.98). Living in urban areas, and poor water supply were identified as significant risk factors of all three types of childhood under-nutrition. Moreover, Khamse and Arab ethnic groups were more vulnerable to under-nutrition. There was a suggestion that non-access to health services were associated with wasting (OR= 1.87, CI: 1.39–2.52) and also large family size was related to underweight (OR= 1.35, CI: 1.10–1.65).
The prevalence of under-nutrition in the study population was categorized in low levels. However, planning the public preventive strategies can help to control childhood under-nutrition according to underlying factors of malnutrition in the study population including gender, settlement area, family size, ethnicity, family income, maternal education, health services, and also safe water supply.


Main Subjects

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