ASSOCIATION OF NUTRITIONAL STATUS AND DIETARY HABITS OF STREET CHILDREN (5-18 YEARS AGE) – A CROSS SECTIONAL STUDY IN RAWALPINDI
Objective: To determine the dietary characteristics and nutritional status of street children in Rawalpindi along with association between malnutrition and dietary characteristics of these street children.
Study Design: Cross sectional analytical study.
Place and Duration of Study: Bahria, DHA and Chaklala Scheme-III, Rawalpindi Pakistan, from Aug 2019 to Feb 2020.
Methodology: Data was collected conveniently from 88 street children after ethical approval of the study from the institute. Data was entered in SPSS-22. Descriptive analysis was done to report frequency and percentage of categorical variables. Inferential analysis was done by applying chi square to find out association between malnutrition and independent variables (age, hand washing, illnesses). Binary logistic regression was done to find the predictors of malnutrition among street children.
Results: Out of 88 participants majority were male 56 (63.6%). Most of the street children were found underweight 74 (84.1%). Children in age group 5-8 years were more malnourished as compared to age groups above 8 years (p-value <0.05). A significant association between nutritional status and hand washing was found (p-value <0.05). Participants who had hand washing practice were 3 times more likely to be healthy as compared to malnourished (p-value=0.05, OR=3.5, 95% CI: 0.9-13.7). The garbage picker and mechanics were 1.3 times more likely to be underweight.
Conclusion: Most of the street children roaming around the streets of Rawalpindi are underweight indicating malnutrition.