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Research Article

Relationship Between Malnutrition and Parasitic Infection among School Children in the Adamawa Region of Cameroon

C.M.G. Garba and C.M.F. Mbofung
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Malnutrition and parasitic infections are common public health problems of children in developing countries. The prevalence of malnutrition and parasitic infections in school children in the Adamawa region of Cameroon was carried out. Anthropometric measurements consisting of height and weight were measured according to WHO guide lines (WHO, 1983, 1987). Body Mass Index (BMI) which is weight/height2 for age was used as indicator to determine nutritional status. Examination of stool specimens was done using direct smear examination and concentration techniques and malaria parasitemia was determined microscopically from Giemsa stained blood films. The nutritional status and parasitosis was studied in 1200 (715 boys and 485 girls) school children aged 6 to 17 years. For malnutrition, severe acute malnutrition prevalence and moderate acute malnutrition was recorded respectively as 15.5% and 35.9%. 14.2% of which 64.3% were boys while 35.6% girls were found positive for various parasitic infections with malaria parasite accounting for the highest (64.9%) and hookworm the lowest (18.7%) prevalence rates. The difference in the level of parasitism was found to be statistically significant (p<0.05, chi square = 15.5) in the region. Severe and mild malnutrition was more prevalence in girls (12.9% and 46.7% respectively) than in boys (11% and 44.9% respectively). The relationship between the parasitic infection prevalence and nutritional status of the children showed that 98 (57.2%) of the infected children were malnourished (p<0.05) and there was no significant difference (p>0.05) of malnutrition between infected and non-infected children. The relationship between malnutrition and parasitic infection revealed that the correlation coefficient was 0.85, indicating a moderately strong relationship between the variables. The study confirmed that malnutrition and parasitosis were important child health problems. Therefore, it is recommended that lunch meals, nutrition education, sanitation education, treatment of parasitic infections be added to the school curriculum of school children in the Adamawa region of Cameroon.

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  How to cite this article:

C.M.G. Garba and C.M.F. Mbofung, 2010. Relationship Between Malnutrition and Parasitic Infection among School Children in the Adamawa Region of Cameroon. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 9: 1094-1099.

DOI: 10.3923/pjn.2010.1094.1099


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