Relation between Behavioral Factors, Malnutrition and Persistent


Background A high prevalence of Behaviors which is related to persistent diarrhea and theprevalence of moderate to sever malnutrition in patients with persistent diarrhea in children.Objectives To asses the prevalence of negative behaviors that causes the persistent diarrheaand to asses the prevalence of malnutrition among children with persistent diarrhea and tocompare prevalence of malnutrition due to persistent diarrhea to that of national figures.Patients and Methods This study was carried out at the Central Teaching Hospital forChildren in Baghdad, a total number of 200 cases of persistent diarrhea (lasting more than 14days)"with no more than 48 hour normal bowel motions in this period" in children less than 2years of age. The period of the study was one year from the 1st of January 1999 to the thirty-oneof December 1999. Information was taken from patient's companions usually the mothers andthe patients were selected at Inpatient, out patient and Emergency departments in a randomizedway.Results. The study showed that the most common age group of persistent diarrhea was the 2ndhalf of the first year constituting (47%) (94/200) of patients with persistent diarrhea. Patientswhose mothers were illiterate constituted a high proportion (48%) (96/200). Patients on bottleor mixed feeding constituted (77%) (144/200). A high prevalence of some behaviors which isrelated to persistent diarrhea was noticed like allowing the children to pick up food spilled onthe floor and eat it (65%) (130/200), stopping or altering feeding during episodes of diarrhea(78%) (156/200), mothers neglecting washing hands or their babies hands before feeding theirchildren (74%) (148/200) and (66%) (132/200) respectively, failure to introduce solid food in1st year of life (72.3%) (94/ 130) and failure to eat adult type of food in 2nd year of life (65.7%)(46/ 70). The prevalence of moderate to sever malnutrition at the three age groups wassignificantly higher in children with persistent diarrhea in present study compared to generalpopulation figures reported by polio immunization national day (PIND) survey at 1999 in Iraq,marasmus was significantly more common in 2nd half of the 1st year of life and the prevalenceof kwashiorkor was significantly higher (15.8%) (11/70) among the older age group (2nd yearof life)Conclusion. The most common age group who developed persistent diarrhea was the secondhalf of the first year of life. The negative behaviors of the mothers had a significant effect on theoccurrence of persistent diarrhea in children and the development of malnutrition diseases likemarsmus and kwashiorkor