Overall Prevalence of Undernutrition Measured by Composite Index of Anthropometric Failure (Ciaf): A Study among the Rural and Urban Preschool Children of West Bengal, India

Child under-nutrition is the major public health concern in many developing countries as well as India. The present study is an attempt to evaluate the overall prevalence of undernutrition using CIAF among the rural and urban pre-school children of West Bengal. A total of 240 children aged 3-5 years were included in the present study. The anthropometric measurements like height and weight and Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) were recorded using standard procedures. Children were considered as underweight, stunting and wasting if their weight-for-age, height-for-age and weight-for-height Z-scores were below -2.0 SD. The overall age and sex combined prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight were found to be 13.33%, 6.66% and 18.33% among the rural preschool children, and 18.33%, 5.83% and 16.66% among the urban preschool children. CIAF showed a higher prevalence of undernutrition (22.5% in the rural and 24.16% in the urban) among the preschool children than the other three conventional indicators (stunting, underweight and wasting). No significant difference in the overall prevalence of undernutrition was found between the rural and the urban slum preschool children. However, 14.17% of the rural preschool children and 12.5% the urban slum preschool children were found to have multiple anthropometric failure. The present study established that CIAF is a better indicator of nutritional status than the traditional measures of stunting, underweight and wasting. The Composite Index of Anthropometric Failure measure will bring more precision in the identification of the nutritionally vulnerable segment of the population and enhance the efficacy of nutritional intervention programs by identifying single or multiple failure groups.