The influence of environment sanitation, safe water supply and big family size on the nutritional status of 788 preschool children residing in area of Rawalpindi cantonment area was examined in a period of six month study during household survey.
Study based on four types of factors, which further have 36 different variables. These four factors include, child related, mother related, father related and socio-economic factors. The children were randomly selected and belonged to both poor as well as rich families.
The study was both qualitative as well as quantitative. It was found that 30.8% of the children were malnourished with moderate malnutrition. The percentage of wasting was far lesser than stunting and underweight. Most of the families (64.5%) were having 3-6 persons, indicating the use of family planning methods. Majority of the families had a per-capita monthly income of less than Rs. 750,and expenditure for food about Rs. 400 per month. The literacy rate was very poor, as 64.4% fathers and 67.4% mothers were illiterate. Most of the families obtained water from taps provided by Cantonment Board. The percentage of children with diarrhea and RTI, however, was higher when per-capita drinking water available was less than 50 liters per day. Most families used toilets constructed and maintained by flush system. But, in case where there were no toilet facilities and had open drains, the prevalence of diarrhea was high.
It is concluded that there is a great influence of family size, socio-economic status, parent’s (especially mother’s) educational level, hygiene practices, environmental sanitation and water availability on the nutritional status of pre-school children. Access to safe and adequate water supplies, along with proper sanitation facilities, is urgently needed for combating various infectious diseases in children. Similarly, appropriate feeding practices and better hygienic conditions can safe guard our children from malnutrition.