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Design: Prospective observational study.
Setting: Paediatric wards of Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret, Kenya
Subjects: A total of 191 children aged 6 and 59 months admitted with acute diarrhoea disease, without chronic co-morbidities or visible severe malnutrition, were systematically enrolled into the study between November 2011 and March 2012.
Outcome Measures: Nutritional status based on WHO WHZ scores taken at admission and duration of hospital stay.
Results: The mean age was 13.2 months with a male to female sex ratio of 1.16:1. Of all the children seen with acute diarrhoeal diseases, 43.9% had acute malnutrition (<-2 WHZ score), with 12% being severely malnourished (<-3 Z score). Average duration of hospital stay was 3.36 (SD=1.54) days. Among those with malnutrition the average duration of stay was 3.39 (SD=1.48) days while for those without malnutrition it was 3.21(SD=1.20) days, which was not statistically different. No death was reported. WHO weight for Height Z scores picked12% of severe form of malnutrition missed out by Welcome Trust classification (weight for age).
Conclusion: Routine anthrometry including weight for height identifies more children with malnutrition in acute diarrhoeal diseases. Presence of malnutrition did not affect duration of hospital stay.