Assessment of Protein Energy Malnutrition among Children in Urban Community of Faisalabad, Pakistan
Protein Energy Malnutrition (PEM) in early childhood is spectrum of deficiency disease. At its one end there is kwashiorkor and on the other is nutritional marasmus, all the developing countries are at great risk of developing PEM among children. The main objective of study was to assess the nutritional status of primary school children. It was achieved by well designed questionnaire using anthropometric, dietary patterns and clinical signs of children belonging from different socio-economic statuses. Total 46 urban school age children less than 12 years were selected through simple random sampling technique. It was found that young children (both boys and girls) were suffering from PEM were under weight than that of their normal requirement. They use to belong to big family size as indicating unavailability of food or imbalanced nutrition because they hardly take milk or milk products; eat meat, vegetable, fat or cereal group food daily. Only a few children took iron/vitamin syrups. This was expressed in their anthropometric measurements. Most of the children usually lacked apathy impression of skin, turned their hair colour brown, white or grayish, dry and thin. They largely had: enlarged thyroid glands, hepatomegaly and splenomegaly pot belly. They usually had ailments during last six months. They use to face diarrhea, fever diseases and malaria. They mainly use to suffer from phagophagia. Therefore it is suggested that raising the awareness of policy makers on the current magnitude of child malnutrition, country wide and in special subgroups, at city level, enhancing food security by improving storage and distribution systems. Nutrition education should be enhanced thus enabling the individual to distinguish the balanced diet from a deficient one.
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