Malnutrition is defined as a pathological state resulting from relative or absolute deficiency of one or more nutrients. It can be classified in many ways. One of it is macro and micronutrients deficiency. Macronutrients deficiency may presents as protein energy malnutrition. Kwashiorkor and Marasmus are its two forms. It has a worldwide distribution. However mostly seen in Africa and Asia. It is quite rare in America, Europe and Ocean regions.
Children under five years of age were taken into consideration. It was carried out to assess the proposed determinants (and trends) for their role which, include lack of education, poverty, addict in the family, faulty feeding practices as absence of breast feeding, over dilution of milk, faulty weaning practices as avoidance of certain foods, delayed weaning and unawareness of weaning diet. Contaminated water and certain infectious diseases have also been proposed in its determinants. Among social factors, sex of the child, non-desirability of the child, family tension, and high number of children in household has been proposed to relate to it. Family planning, parental affection and attention all have proposed to be the negative affect on malnutrition.
The data was collected from Preventive Peadiatric Unit of Mayo Hospital Lahore and Children Hospital Lahore. 204 cases were selected randomly. Mothers of consecutive cases were interviewed for filling in a questionnaire. The data obtained was studied by dividing it to four subgroups i.e. <= 4 months, 5-12 months, 13-30 months, and 31-60 months age groups. Number of children in each subgroup was 46,66,62 and 30 respectively. For analysis of data, percentages were obtained and modes were identified to reflect the trends.
The findings of the study were: the major trend was found that most of the mothers were ignorant from feeding and weaning techniques. Even mothers with an average formal education did not know about feeding and weaning. Direct effect of poverty with the malnutrition could not be established. Instead a number of poverty related factors were found to be related to malnutrition. Fathers who have more contact with the children have lesser number of malnourished children. Mere mother’s contact with the children is not the substitute. Family tension was common in 20-30%. Parental affection was found to be more with malnourished child. Number of children in the family was generally less and only 6.34% were observing family planning. Non-desirability of the sex of the child was seen in 17 cases. There was slight preponderance of males. Diarrhea is significantly related to malnutrition. Absence of exclusive breast-feeding was found to be an important trend. Over dilution is also associated with malnutrition. Cow/Buffaloes milk was most commonly used by malnourished
Use of unsafe water was quite common. Avoidance of food due to food fad (hot/cold food) was not seen. Instead sour thing were avoided to prevent sour throat. Either the doctor’s advice was not taken at all for malnutrition and even if taken, no benefit was seen. Just half of the mothers had BMI between 20-25%. 11% were between below 20. Just 1% was suffering from some clinical disease.