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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 231-238

Strengthening growth monitoring among under-5-year children to fight childhood undernutrition in India

1 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, JIPMER, Puducherry, India
2 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, JIPMER; Department of Community Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Swaroop Kumar Sahu
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, JIPMER, Puducherry
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_225_18

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Introduction: Growth monitoring of children in India is usually done by Anganwadi workers using weight-for-age growth charts. We wanted to assess the magnitude of various types of undernutrition among under-5 children using multiple growth charts and risk factors of undernutrition. We also wanted to assess if prevalence of undernutrition improves following sensitization of various stakeholders. Methodology: This is a single-arm prospective study conducted at a selected urban primary health center area in Puducherry. All the eligible 366 under-5 children and their mothers were included. Data were collected using pretested structured questionnaire. Assessment of nutritional status was done using three types of growth charts. Three home visits were made, at an interval of around 6 months, for monitoring the nutrition status of children. Results: The prevalence of undernutrition at baseline was 15.8% (95% CI 12–19.6). The prevalence of underweight, wasting, and stunting were 9.6%, 7.6%, and 7.3%, respectively. Weight-for-age growth chart could identify only 67% with stunting and 50% of children with wasting. The decrease in prevalence of wasting, underweight, and stunting were 63.6%, 44.8%, and 31.5%, respectively, over 1-year follow-up. Nutrition status could improve by prevention of low birth weight, ensuring gaps between births and promotion of breastfeeding and hand hygiene. Conclusion: It is important to use multiple growth charts for assessing nutritional status of children, instead of relying only on weight-for-age growth chart. Overreliance on use of weight-for-age growth chart will fail to identify more children with wasting. Under-5 undernutrition status can be decreased following intensive growth monitoring and planning appropriate actions involving various stakeholders.

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