Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
On-line version ISSN 1680-5348
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
BARRIOS, Roberto E.; STANSBURY, James P.; PALENCIA, Rosa and MEDINA, Marco T.. Nutritional status of children under 5 years of age in three hurricane-affected areas of Honduras. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2000, vol.8, n.6, pp.380-384. ISSN 1680-5348. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892000001100002.
Hurricanes and other natural disasters can produce crop destruction, population displacement, infrastructure damage, and long-term public health consequences that include increased malnutrition among the affected populations. This paper presents the results of anthropometric measurements taken of 295 children under 5 years of age from three regions of Honduras that were affected by Hurricane Mitch, a major storm that struck Central America in the fall of 1998. The children in our study were sampled in three shelters in the capital city of Tegucigalpa; in the resettlement zone of Nueva Choluteca, Choluteca; and in the small urban area of Catacamas, Olancho. Our data indicated that, in comparison to the period before the hurricane, there was an elevated prevalence of wasting in all three of the study areas, and that there were also high levels of underweight in the Tegucigalpa and Nueva Choluteca study areas. There were statistically significant differences between the mean values of malnutrition indicators for Catacamas and those for the Tegucigalpa and Nueva Choluteca settlements. These differences suggest that resettled families were confronting a nutritional crisis in July and August of 1999, some 9 months after the hurricane struck.