Prevalence of undernutrition among pre-school children of Chapra, Nadia District, West Bengal, India, measured by composite index of anthropometric failure (CIAF)
Biswas, Sadaruddin; Bose, Kaushik; Mukhopadhyay, Ashish; Bhadra, Mithu
Since independence, one of the greatest problems facing India is malnutrition among under five year old children. However, there exists scanty information of the prevalence of undernutrition among preschool children in India and West Bengal. The present cross-sectional study investigates the prevalence of undernutrition among children 3.0-5.9 years old in a rural area of West Bengal covered by the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) using Composite Index of Anthropometric Failure (CIAF). Randomly selected sixty six ICDS centres of the Chapra Block Nadia District, West Bengal, India, were chosen. A total of 2016 children, aged 3.0-5.9 years were studied. It was observed that boys were heavier and taller than girls at all ages. Significant age differences existed in mean height and weight in boys as well as in girls. Among the children, 48.20%, 10.60% and 48.30% were stunting, wasted and underweight, respectively. The CIAF showed a higher prevalence of undernutrition, with 60.40% of the studied children suffering from anthropometric failure, in comparison to the three other conventional indicators. We conclude that the nutritional status of the subjects is unsatisfactory. More studies dealing with CIAF should be undertaken among pre-school children from different parts of India. Such investigations will allow us not only to compare the rates of three conventional measures of undernutrition with CIAF, but also help to demonstrate the enhanced utility and effectiveness of the latter measure.