Arthur M Kwena.
Protein-energy malnutrition in two cohorts of children in a malaria endemic region of western Kenya.
Pak J Med Res Jan ;55(2):35-40.

Background: Protein-Energy Malnutrition is a major problem in most developing countries. The earliest age for accurate assessment is still a challenge. Objectives: To compare the prevalence of malnutrition and determine the impact of bednets on overall morbidity and mortality in preschool children in two groups; aged 0 to 5 months and 6 to 59 months in a high malaria endemic area in Western Kenya. Study design, settings and duration: Three cross-sectional surveys were conducted in Asembo, Rarieda Division, South-West of Kisumu city, Western Kenya between 1999 and 2005 as part of the bednet project. Subjects and Methods: Nutritional status of the children aged between 0 to 6 months then 6 to 59 months, in the study area was done using anthropometric measurements. Statistical analysis was carried out using Chi-square tests or Fisher’s exact test, relative risk and odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals. Results: Out of 2112 children, stunting was present in 29.5%. Children in the first 3 months of life were relatively unaffected by stunting or underweight. The prevalence of stunting showed a rise from the age of 3 months onwards, peaked between 18-24 months (42.1%) and remained relatively stable between 36-59 months (35.7%). The overall prevalence of underweight was 20.2% and age related pattern was similar to that observed for stunting. The weight gain was only apparent in infants aged 0-3 months. Conclusion: Children in the first 3 months of life were relatively unaffected by stunting or underweight but intervention showed a positive effect on general nutritional status. Policy message: Protein Energy malnutrition could be assessed with accuracy in children between 6 to 59 months. Key words: Protein energy malnutrition, children, bed-nets, Western Kenya.

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