DIETARY HABITS of CHILDREN 5-10 Years old: A Hospital Based Study
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AbstractIntroduction: In developing countries research in nutrition has primarily be focusing on preschool children and women of reproductive age.1,2 A large, multicountry study on the anthropometric status of rural school children in Ghana, Tanzania, Indonesia, Vietnam, and India found a high prevalence of stunting and underweight, ranging from 48% to 56% for stunting and from 34% to 62% for underweight.1 Anemia is estimated to affect 46% of 5- to 12-year-old children in low-income countries, with the highest prevalence in South Asia (50%).2 Because school-age children undergo a period of rapid growth, nutrient deficiencies at this age can lead to retarded growth3, anemia2, reduced immune function4 and impaired motor and cognitive development5, all of which may adversely affect academic performance through reduced learning capacity and poor school attendance6. Nutritional deficiency in children of school going age result from increased micronutrient needs for growth, as well as changes in eating and lifestyle habits arising from increasing independence from the family. During this time, nutritional requirements are high, yet vitamin and mineral intakes tend to be reduced as there is a greater consumption of ‘empty calories’, frequent meal skipping, adoption of inappropriate weight control behavior and decreased vegetable and fruit intake.7,8,9 In spite of the fact that in many countries much is known about the nutritional situation of children and adolescents10-16, less information is available for this age group than for adults, and no data exist on risk factors associated with inadequate intakes in the younger cohort. The quantity and quality of available information is scarce. There is mutual synergistic interrelationship between infections and nutritional status. Poor nutritional status increases the likelihood of acquiring an infectious disease and increased severity of infectious episode whereas infectious disease leads to worsening of nutritional status. The present study was conducted to gather information on dietary intakes of children of such age group.