Low intake of vitamin A-rich foods among children, aged 12-35 months, in India: association with malnutrition, anemia, and missed child survival interventions.
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OBJECTIVE: To determine whether children in India who have a low intake of vitamin A-rich foods are at higher risk of malnutrition, anemia, and not receiving child health interventions.
METHODS: We analyzed data from the India National Family Health Survey, 2005-2006.
RESULTS: Of 17 847 children (41.9%), aged 12-35 months, 7020 did not receive vitamin A-rich foods, based on 24-h recall. The prevalence of stunting, severe stunting, underweight, and severe underweight among children who did and did not receive vitamin A-rich foods was, respectively, 52.5% versus 59.0%, 26.7% versus 32.9%, 43.8% versus 48.5%, and 17.9% versus 21.6% (all P<0.0001). Children who did not receive vitamin A-rich foods were more likely to be anemic, not have completed childhood immunizations, and not to have received vitamin A supplementation in the previous 6 mo (all P<0.0001). Maternal education of ≥10, 7-9, and 1-6 y, respectively, compared with no formal education was associated with the child receiving vitamin A-rich foods (odds ratio 1.41, 95% confidence interval 1.20-1,67, P<0.0001; odds ratio 1.20, 95% confidence interval 1.04-1.37, P=0.01; odds ratio 1.16, 95% confidence interval 1.02-1.32, P=0.02) in a multivariate logistic regression model adjusting for maternal age, household size, socioeconomic status, and location.
CONCLUSION: Children who did not receive vitamin A-rich foods were more likely to be malnourished and to have missed basic child health interventions, including vitamin A supplementation. Children were more likely to receive vitamin A-rich foods if their mothers had previously achieved higher primary or secondary education levels.