Original paper

Undernutrition among the Tribal Children in India: Tribes of Coastal,Himalayan and Desert Ecology

Kshatriya, Gautam Kumar; Ghosh, Arnab

Abstract

Summary: The purpose of the present cross-sectional investigation was to assess the nutritional condition in children of three tribal communities namely Dhodia,Kinnaura and Bhil,which belong to Coastal,Himalayan and Desert ecology,respectively,in India. A total of 989 tribal children in the age group 0-1 years through 5 + years (below 6 years) was examined.There were 306 Dhodia children (164 boys and 142 girls),327 Kinnaura children (177 boys and 150 girls) and 356 Bhil children (168 boys and 188 girls) out of 989 subjects. Crown-heel length was measured using infantometer with the child lying supine,height with Martin's anthropometer and body weight using standard weighing machine. Body mass index (BMI) was subsequently computed.`Z'score was undertaken to obtain comprehensive pictures of undernutrition in terms of wasting,stunting and underweight in these communities. The chi-square test was also undertaken to compare nutritional indicators by the sexes. It was observed that maximum wasting (85.3%),stunting (86.6%) and underweight (93.3%) was recorded in Kinnaura girls,who belong to Himalayan ecology. The results revealed also that so far as wasting and stunting was concerned,the situation was worst for desert dwelling Bhil, where only 7.3 % wasted and 5.6 % stunted pre-school children fall in between - 1 SD to ⇐ median as compared to 11.7% wasted and 18.3% stunted pre-school children in dhodia and 11.3% wasted and 15.3% stunted pre-school children in kinnaura,who fall in the same category (± 1 sd to £ median).it was important to note that the prevalence of undernutrition in terms of wasting,stunting and underweight was similar in both the sexes (x 2 ( 2 ) = 1.745,p > 0.05 ).The findings of the present study revealed the widespread prevalence of undernutrition among the children of Dhodia,Kinnaura and Bhil tribal communities and highlight a need for an integrated approach towards improving the child health as well as the nutritional status in these areas.

Keywords

BMIundernutritionchronic energy deficiency (CED)tribal nutritionIndia.