Prevalence of Undernutrition in Children Admitted to Pediatrics Hospital at Diyala Province


Background: Nutritional support is an essential aspect of the clinical management of children admitted to hospital. The mean length of hospital stay of most children is only a few days, but can be considerably longer in some children with chronic diseases or underlying problems. During their brief stay, attention is mostly focused on the primary medical problem with a little attention given to the child’s nutritional status. Really we don’t know how much the nutritional problems are prevalent in the hospitalized children in the province & in overall country, so the purpose of this review is to describe the current prevalence of undernutrition in hospitalized children in order to bring an attention & care to that problem. Patient & method: This is a prospective study, it was done at al- Batool teaching hospital for maternity & children from 1st of September 2011 to 1st of March 2012. All the patients from >1 month to 5 yr had been included; Weight for age & sex was measured for those patients & compared to the international values published by World Health Organization (WHO). Prevalence of underweight malnutrition was calculated & showed, in addition to other characters of the sample. Results: The total number of the registered children was 410, the number of underweight children was 108 (26.3 %), so the prevalence of underweight was 26.3 %. The malnourished children were 59 (55 %) male & 49 (45 %) female, while most of them (105 (79 %)) were below 2 year of life. Those malnourished children were classified according to the type of malnutrition into: acute malnutrition (wasting) and chronic malnutrition (stunting), while according to other classification for malnutrition, the sample was divided into two groups, underweight & marasmus. while both of kwashiorkor & marasmic- kwashiorkor were not present in the study because edema was not detected clinically on data collection.Conclusion: Malnutrition among hospitalized children is worthy of attention, and effective strategies for systematic screening and treatment of malnutrition in pediatrics patients need to be developed and implemented.