Background: Child malnutrition and thiamine deficiency remain a matter of public concern in Dai children under 5 years old in Southwest areas of China. The aim of the present study was to understand the status and correlates of malnutrition and thiamine deficiency in Dai children under 18 months old in Yunnan, China, and to explore an effective intervention for improving their nutritional status and decreasing the prevalence of malnutrition and thiamine deficiency in Dai children. Methods: Well-trained investigators completed a baseline evaluation survey, including questionnaire survey by maternal interviews, child physical measurements, lab examination of thiamine, and group discussions in a cross-sectional study. An intervention plan was constructed by a group consisting of the city governor, government officers, maternal and child health workers, community leaders, and villagers etc. A comprehensive community-based intervention was carried out for 352 children born after July 2001 and their mothers or caregivers in half of the baseline survey villages by the end of 2003. The intervention included participatory intervention, community nutrition education, child growth monitoring and distributing thiamine to new mothers just before or after delivery. Results: The baseline evaluation survey in 2000 indicated that the prevalence of moderate and severe protein-energy malnutrition was 19.5% for underweight, 16.4% for stunting, and 6.7% for wasting, respectively. With increasing age, the prevalence increased, peaking at 12-15 months. The prevalence of underweight in girls was higher than in boys. A total of 10.5% of children suffered from thiamine deficiency, and 5.7% of the children were insufficient in thiamine supply. Low Kaup target (<25%) was significantly associated with lack of guidance by doctors, lack of nutrition knowledge, lack of knowledge of causes of malnutrition and local culture food taboos. The status of child nutrition has been improved significantly since the intervention measure implementation. The change of prevalence of underweight children aged 6-17 months prior to and after the intervention was significant: 20.5% before and 13.7% after the intervention in infants aged 6-11 months, and 39.0% before and 26.4% after the intervention in young children aged 12-17 months. Prevalence of girls was higher than that of boys. Some women began to eat vegetables and pork from the market, which were forbidden by the culture food taboos. There is no case report of child thiamine deficiency in project villages. Conclusion: The prevalence of moderate and severe protein-energy malnutrition is high in Dai infants and young children. However, based on the local situation, participatory community-based comprehensive nutrition intervention effectively reduces the prevalence of child malnutrition and thiamine deficiency. It is highlighted that population nutritional intervention can produce better results with participation at a community level.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health