Dietary intakes, eating habits and socioeconomic determinants of childhood malnutrition among children under 5 years of age in rural Lingshui county, Hainan, China: A case-control study
Fan Zhang1, Yuan-Chin Amy Lee2, Cong Yi1, Stephen C Alder3, Guotian Lin1, Limin He1
1 Laboratory of Tropical Environment and Health, School of Public Health, Hainan Medical University, Haikou, Hainan, P. R. China
2 Division of Public Health, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine; Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
3 Division of Public Health, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Laboratory of Tropical Environment and Health, School of Public Health, Hainan Medical University, Haikou, Hainan
P. R. China
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Objective: To investigate the associations between dietary intakes, eating habits, socioeconomic determinants and malnutrition in children under 5 years old in south China.
Method: A case-control study with 182 malnourished (case) and 254 normal (control) children was conducted in four towns using anthropometric measurements and questionnaires.
Results: The dietary intakes of calory, protein, vitamin and minerals of malnourished children were lower than their normal counterparts. Overall, 37.9% children ‘monthly or never’ ate egg and egg products, 61.5% ‘monthly or never’ ate beans and soy products, but 76.7% had candies or cakes ‘daily or weekly’. Four identified determinants of malnutrition were: 1) low education level of mother (OR 1.65; 95% CI 1.02-2.67); 2) more children in one family (OR 1.86; 95% CI 1.14-3.03); 3) absence of independent eating habit (OR 1.75; 95% CI 1.13-2.72); and 4) long dining time (≥20 min) (OR 1.91; 95% CI 1.12-3.24).
Conclusions: Inadequate dietary intake, lower socioeconomic status and inappropriate eating habits were the major determinants of childhood malnutrition in south China. Nutritional intervention focusing on education and behavior change are warranted to help reduce the rate of malnourishment among the children of rural families in the future.