Prevalence and predictors of stunting and wasting among children aged 2-6 years attending the selected pre-primary schools in Bushenyi District, Western Uganda
Amusimire, Bright Edrone
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Stunting and wasting are the most common forms of under nutrition that have become a global burden. Despite the various programs and schemes that have been implemented by the government, malnutrition stays one of the major causes of death in children aged below six years in Uganda, Bushenyi district being one of the most severely affected districts in the country. Thus, the present study aimed at determining the prevalence and predictors of stunting and wasting among children attending the selected pre-primary schools in Bushenyi district. A cross sectional study was conducted using quantitative methods to assess the parameter of interest. Questionnaires were used to collect data about the socio-demographic factors causing these malnutrition conditions and clustering done according to age and gender of the child. Anthropometric measurements of the height and weight of the children and physical attributes such as hair color, skin and eyes were obtained and used to confirm or rule out stunting and wasting in a given child. Children were classified as stunted or wasted if their HAZ and WHZ scores were less than -2SD. For further confirmation, the affected children had either a pale skin, sunken eyes or brown hair. STATA software was used to analyze the collected data. From a total of 200 participants enrolled, the prevalence of stunting was 48% while wasting was 4.5%. The predictors of stunting and wasting were household size (AOR=0.052 (95%CI 0.011, 0.234) for wasting and (AOR=4.495 (95%CI 1.718, 11.761) for stunting, location of home from school (AOR=0.084(95%CI 0.032, 0.220) for wasting and (AOR=5.232(95%CI 2.271, 12.055) for stunting and parents’ education status (AOR=6.768(95%CI 1.819, 25.180) for stunting. Category of student was an exclusive factor for stunting only (AOR=0.15(95%CI0.055, 0.431). The prevalence of stunting and wasting among pre-primary school children was high in the district compared to other parts of the country. It was significantly associated with age group, gender, location of home from school, household size, category of the child and parents’ level of education. This high prevalence of malnutrition in the study area requires special nutritional attention. Policy interventions such s family planning, sensitization of parents, and packaging of food for day school children are recommended to mitigate these malnutrition challenges.