Background No information exists on nutritional status of South Sinai residing children, Egypt.
Aim Assessing prevalence of malnutrition among South Sinai children.
Methods Cross sectional study included 3987 healthy children (0 to 11 years); randomly selected; represent about 12% of all children from the 6 areas of South Sinai. Height and weight were measured. Weight-for-age Z score (WAZ), height-for-age Z score (HAZ) and weight-for-height Z score (HAZ) were used to estimate the children’s nutritional status. Venous blood sample was obtained to measure plasma hemoglobin level for school students.
Results Wasting (WHZ< –1.96 SD), underweight (WAZ < –1.96 SD) and stunting (HAZ < –1.96 SD) were prevalent among 4.2%, 8.9% and 11%, respectively. Prevalence of underweight, at risk of wasting and be anemic were more prevalent among boys than girls (p<0.01). On the other side, 8% were overweight and 4% were obese. Although small percentage of anemic school children was suffering from growth deviation (wasting, 2.8%; underweight, 5.6%; stunting, 9.9%; overweight, 2.8% and obese, 1.4%), ›55% of them were at risk of growth deviations (wasting, underweight and stunting). Under nutrition were more prevalent among South Sinai children than their peers in Greater Cairo, while over nutrition was less prevalent.
Conclusion The highest prevalence of malnutrition was detected in infant’s age. Anemia of primary school children was more prevalent among those at risk of under nutrition than undernourished ones.
Community education on environmental sanitation and personal hygienic practices, proper child rearing, breast-feeding and weaning practices would possibly reverse the trends.