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Open Access Household food insecurity and nutritional status of children aged 6 to 23 months in Kailali District of Nepal

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Background. Food insecurity and malnutrition among children are common in Nepal. However, inadequate data exist on the association between household food insecurity and the nutritional status of children.

Objective. To assess the relationship between household food insecurity and malnutrition among children aged 6 to 23 months in Kailali District of Nepal.

Methods. We analyzed data from families of 368 children 6 to 23 months of age who completed a cross-sectional survey in January 2009. The data contained information on sociodemographic characteristics, food insecurity, child feeding practices, use of preventive health services, and height, weight, and hemoglobin levels of children and mothers.

Results. More than two-thirds (69%) of households were classified as food insecure (had insufficient access to adequate food). The prevalence rates of stunting, underweight, and wasting among children were 41%, 24%, and 9%, respectively. The prevalence of anemia was 58%. There were no significant associations between household food insecurity and stunting, underweight, or anemia. Stunting and underweight were associated with maternal height and household wealth (p < .05). Underweight was also associated with maternal education (p < .05). Anemia was associated with low maternal hemoglobin concentration (p < .05).

Conclusions. Food insecurity was common in households with children 6 to 23 months of age in Kailali District of Nepal. The rates of stunting, underweight, wasting, and anemia were also high. However, there was no significant association between household food insecurity and malnutrition among children. Therefore, not just access to food, but an integrated approach that improves the overall socioeconomic well-being of families, maternal education, and knowledge of optimal nutrition practices, together with adequate maternal nutrition, is needed to address malnutrition among young children.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106
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