Food utilization as anti-stunting intervention in Pakistan

Type Journal Article - Medical Channel
Title Food utilization as anti-stunting intervention in Pakistan
Volume 22
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 80-87
Introduction: Worldwide childhood stunting is affecting approximately 162
million children under 5 years of age per year.It is a major public health problem
in Pakistan likewise other developing countries.Children whose height for age
Z-score is below minus two standard deviations i.e. (HAZ < -2 Z-score) are
considered stunted. Stuntinghampers children inreaching their full developmental
potential and causes lasting damage in infancy and early childhood. To address
stunting at birth, pregnant mothers need to be taken care of. Interventionleading
to improve the nutritional status of the mother proved helpful to prevent stunting
at birth. An integrated and multi sectoral approach is required to address menace
of malnutrition and stunting. Objective: Objective of this paper is to estimate/
assess the reduction in stunting at the time of birth and perinatal mortality rate
by implementing interventions to pregnant mothers (from conception till time of
delivery). Methods:Interventional study design has been used in this research
for testing our intervention among two groups of participants.Study is carried
out among 200 pregnant mothers in different cities of Pakistan. 100 mothers
were taken as control group and 100 mothers as study group. All pregnant
mothers were selected from same age group i.e. 20 to 30 years of age group.
They all belonged to same income group (i.e. affording food groups) and having
approximately similar health parameters.The study group was oriented about
the healthy eating habits and given directions to eat daily one food from each
offive food groups. Stunting and perinatal deaths were observed in study group
and control group. A comparison was made between the two groups to assess
the impact of intervention. Findings:The study revealed that perinatal mortality
among study group was 30 per 1000 births while in control group it was 50 per
1000 births. In study group 30% newborns were stunted whereas 40 % were in
control group. Eating weekly from five food groups was identified as significant
intervention for anti-stunting at the time of birth. Conclusion: The findings
shows a strong evidence that use of healthy and balanced food has positive
impact in reducing stunting at the time of birth and perinatal deaths. A coordinated
approach by health, food and agriculture department is required to ensure availability
and use of balanced food during pregnancy to address the issue of stunting atthe time of birth.The results of our study shows that control
group has same current rate of stunting in Pakistan. While
intervention on study group shows significant effect in
prevention of stunting. There is need to adopt an integrated
approach by all relevant sectors under the umbrella of MultiSectoral
Nutrition Strategy to overcome this major challenge
in Pakistan. Situation can be improved by scaling up this
nutrition intervention.

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