Topical Area: Global Nutrition
Objectives : We evaluated the impact on growth in children 5 years of age and younger of a community- based nutrition intervention program in a coastal Peruvian community. Mother’s in an “invasion” community were recruited to participate in the study. Interested mothers were trained as community agents. Nurses and community agents measured weight and height of children monthly and checked for parasites. Children were evaluated for anemia and micronutrient supplementation was provided. During the home visits nutrition education would be provided. Women participated in workshops on nutrition, water, gardening, and health and social concerns. Children were assessed over 16 months.
Methods : Growth was assessed by calculating Z-scores for weight-for-age (WZ) and height-for-age (HZ), A linear mixed model was adjusted to each response variable to assess its change over time. Because there were underweight and overweight children in the group analysis was conducted on subjects with initial WZ (WZI) < -1 or > 2. For HZ only children with initial HZ (HZi) < -1 were included in a separate analysis.
Results : The analysis used 247 subjects, 115 (46.6%) females and 132 (53.4%) males. The The 95% confidence interval for month included a value of zero, indicating that, on average, ZW does not change over time for the ZWi < -1. However, in the severely overweight group ZW decreased, on average, by 0.325 units for each month that the subject was evaluated. In the HZi < -1 group the coefficient of month indicated that HZ increased at an average rate of 0.0156 units per month. The HZ did not change overtime when all children were included in the analysis.
Conclusions : The intervention seems to have been effective in improving the underweight condition of the children who were moderately to severely underweight and in decreasing weight in severely overweight children. In addition, children that started severely or moderately shorter than normal experienced a gain in height over the time they were evaluated.
Funding Sources : University of the Incarnate Word