Nutritional status and intestinal parasites among young children from pastoralist communities of the Ethiopian Somali region
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
astoralist children in the Ethiopian Somali Regional State (ESRS) are at high risk for undernutrition and intestinal parasitic infections (IPIs). We assessed the nutritional status and its association with IPIs in 500 children <5 years of age in a clustered cross‐sectional study in Adadle district, ESRS. Stool samples were microscopically examined for IPIs and biomarkers for iron and vitamin A status, anthropometry, and food variety score (FVS) were assessed. Median (interquartile range [IQR]) FVS was 2.0 (2.0, 4.0), and 35% of children were exclusively breastfed up to age 6 months. Prevalence of stunting, wasting, underweight and mid‐upper arm circumference (MUAC) <12.5 cm was 30, 34, 40, and 16%, respectively. Median (IQR) haemoglobin, ferritin, and retinol‐binding protein concentrations were 9.5 g dL‐1 (8.2, 10.9), 6.2 μg L‐1 (4.0, 10.2), and 0.8 μmol L−1 (0.67, 0.91), respectively. Prevalence of anaemia, iron, and vitamin A deficiency was 75, 91, and 30%, respectively. IPIs' prevalence was 47%; the most prevalent IPIs were Giardia lamblia (22%) and Ascaris lumbricoides (15%). Giardial infections but not A. lumbricoides increased the risk for MUAC <12.5 cm (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 3.50, 95% confidence interval [CI] [2.21, 5.54]). The odds for anaemia were 97% (aOR: 0.03, 95% CI [0.03, 0.07]) and 89% (aOR: 0.11, 95% CI [0.11, 0.23]) less for children with FVS >2 or with exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months, respectively. Undernutrition and IPIs are alarmingly high in <5 years of age children in ESRS. Giardial infections and low nutritional adequacy of the diet seem to be major contributing factors to the precarious nutritional status and should be addressed by appropriate interventions. Show more
Journal / seriesMaternal & Child Nutrition
Pages / Article No.
SubjectAnaemia; Children <5 years; Ethiopian Somali Regional State; Intestinal parasitic infection; Micronutrient deficiencies; Pastoralist; Undernutrition
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