Nutritional status of underfive children in a pastoral community in Simanjiro District, Tanzania
AbstractA study was conducted in Simanjiro district in northern Tanzania to determine the nutritional status of underfive children in a pastoral community. Weight and height measurements were carried out on 250 children and that of mean upper arm circumference (MUAC) on 226 children. The z-scores of weight-for-age, weight-for-height and height-for-age indicated that 31.2% of the children were underweight and 6.0% were severely underweight. Wasting was observed in 17.2% children of whom 3.2% were severely wasted. Severely stunted children were 3.2% while 14% were moderately stunted. Measurements of MUAC indicated that 35% and 3.5% of the children were moderately and severely undernourished, respectively. The nutritional status of the children under study was slightly lower than the national average. In conclusion, malnutrition in Simanjiro district is prevalent, and therefore, appropriate multidisciplinary approach on nutrition education, environmental sanitation and hygienic practices at family and community level need to be promoted to reduce childhood illnesses thereby increasing child health and nutritional status.
Keywords: nutrition, children, pastoral community, Tanzania
Tanzania Health Research Bulletin Vol. 8(1) 2006: 32-36