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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

NESTEL, Penelope; MELARA, Alejandro; ROSADO, Jorge  and  MORA, Jose O.. Undernutrition among Honduran children 12-71 months old. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1999, vol.6, n.4, pp. 256-265. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49891999000900005.

In 1996, the Ministry of Health of Honduras conducted a national micronutrient survey that included anthropometric measurements to determine the nutrition status of children 12-71 months old. Among the 1 744 children who participated, 38% of them were stunted, including 14% who were severely stunted; 24% were underweight, of which 4% were severely underweight; and 1% were wasted, of which 0.1% were severely wasted. The country can be divided into three groupings based on the level of stunting and underweight: 1) lowest prevalence: Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and medium cities; 2) medium prevalence: other urban areas, the rural north, and the rural south; and 3) highest prevalence: the rural west. Using logistic regression analysis, the important determinants of stunting were found to be: mother/caretaker's and father's schooling, source of water, the dominion (geographic location and strata) in which the child lived, and the "possession score" for ownership of such items as a radio, television, refrigerator, stereo system, and electric iron. The predictors for underweight were micronutrient status, diarrhea, maternal/caretaker's schooling, type of toilet, and possession score. Historical data indicate that the national prevalence of chronic undernutrition has changed little over the last 10 years despite the number of national food and nutrition plans implemented and the significant improvements in health services. It is possible that these positive interventions have been offset by the slow progress in economic development. Future nutrition interventions should take into account household-level perceived needs and priorities in order to set realistic nutrition targets.

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