Nutritional status of ICDS preschool children of Purulia district, West Bengal, India

Malnutrition, especially undernutrition among preschool children is the most serious health problems in developing countries. It seems to be a leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality. The present study was aimed to assess the nutritional status among the ICDS pre-school children of the Purulia district, WB, India. This cross-sectional study was undertaken at the randomly selected 25 ICDS Centres at Balarampur Block of Purulia district. A total of 544 (boys 284, girls 260) pre-school children aged between 2 to 5 years were included in this study. Height and weight were measured as per standard techniques. Nutritional status was assessed using the NCHS and WHO growth reference values, <-2 z-score values were used to determine stunting, underweight and wasting status. The overall prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting were very much higher among preschool children using both growth reference. Sex combined age variations in prevalence of undernutrition were also found. It was also observed that prevalence of stunting was found to be higher according to the WHO reference. Whereas the rate of underweight was found to be higher by NCHS standards but the rate of wasting was almost similar as measured by both methods. The nutritional status of the children was unsatisfactory indicating a major public health problem. Parents needs to be aware that their children are to get diverse nutrient rich food to prevent malnutrition. A more effective nutritional intervention program may be adopted by the respective authority.