Height and weight of urban preschool children in relation to their mothers' educational levels and employment status in Rasht City, northern Iran

Mohsen Maddah, Zahra Mohtasham-Amiri, Arash Rashidi, Majid Karandish
Maternal & Child Nutrition 2007, 3 (1): 52-7
This study determined the relationship between anthropometric status of 3-5-year-old urban children and theirs mothers' educational levels and employment status in Rasht City, northern Iran. A total of 1319 children (638 girls and 681 boys) at the ages of 3 and 6 years in all day-care centres in Rasht City were studied, using a cross-sectional design. Height and weight of the children were measured, and data on mothers' educational levels, employment status and duration of any breastfeeding were collected. Height for age, weight for age and weight for height of the children were compared with the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reference population of the United States, and z-values <or=-2 were considered as stunted, underweight and wasted, respectively. The data showed that the prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight were 8.6%, 8.0% and 7.1%, respectively. Our findings indicated that children of both less educated mothers (<5 years of schooling, OR = 2.54; 95% CI: 1.54-4.87) and college-educated mothers (>12 years of schooling, OR = 1.87; 95% CI: 1.08-2.4) had higher relative risk for underweight than children of mothers with an intermediate level of education (5-12 years of schooling). Children of mothers with college education were also more at risk for development of stunting (OR = 1.41; 95% CI: 1.14-4.22). In addition, children of employed mothers were more likely to be underweight (OR = 1.52; 95% CI: 1.05-2.31), stunted (OR = 2.42; 95% CI: 1.21-6.35) and wasted (OR = 3.35; 95% CI: 1.21-5.58) than children of non-employed mothers. The relative risk for undernutrition was higher in the children of both less and highly educated mothers compared with children of mothers with an intermediate level of education. Mothers' employment was also negatively related to nutritional status of these children in day-care centres in Rasht City.

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