Surviving but not quite thriving: anthropometric survey of children aged 6 to 59 months in a rural Western Uganda district.
Located in Western Uganda, Bundibugyo District has enjoyed nearly a decade of relative political stability. However, the current nutritional status of young children is not known. A survey conducted in 1999 assessed the prevalence of global malnutrition, but not stunting. The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of global malnutrition and stunting in three of the 10 subcounties in Bundibugyo District, and to describe efforts to address malnutrition in Bundibugyo. An anthropometric survey of children aged 6 to 59 months was conducted, informed by guidelines for two-stage cluster sampling. Ten villages from each subcounty were chosen at random. The following indicators were measured for 30 children (not randomly selected) per village: age in months, sex, weight in kilograms, length/height in centimeters, mid-upper arm circumference in centimeters, presence of edema, presence of mother in the home, and presence of father in the home. The overall prevalence estimate of global malnutrition, defined as weight-for-height less than -2 z scores, was 2.7% (includes severe malnutrition). The prevalence estimate for stunting, defined as height-for-age less than -2 z scores, was 44.8%. There were no observed cases of kwashiorkor. Because results indicate that stunting is a major problem, programmatic efforts should emphasize young child feeding practices that will lead to decreased incidence of stunting, which would likely contribute to the development potential of the district. The authors describe efforts to address global malnutrition as well as stunting in Bundibugyo.
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