Nutritional status and mortality of highland children in Nepal: impact of sociocultural factors

P.M.J.F. Huijbers, J.L.M. Hendriks, W.J.M. Gerver, P.J. de Jong, K. de Meer

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Nutritional status and mortality of highland children in Nepal: impact of sociocultural factors.

Huijbers PM, Hendriks JL, Gerver WJ, De Jong PJ, De Meer K.

Department of Pediatrics, Academic Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands.

This study investigates the nutritional status of native children in the highlands of Nepal (1,700-3,000 m) and explores the relationship between child mortality and surviving children's nutritional status. A random sample of 145 households from 11 villages in the Koshi Hill Zone in east Nepal was surveyed, and the nutritional status of the 438 children < 14 years of age living in these households was assessed by means of anthropometry. We found a severe growth retardation in the Nepalese children compared to lowland reference groups as well as to highland children from the Andes. Child mortality and altitude are not significantly different between higher (Brahman and Chetri) and lower (Baisya and Sudra) caste households. A lower caste status and higher altitude of the household is associated with a significantly better nutritional status in offspring. In multiple regression analyses, improved nutritional status in children is significantly associated with lower caste (P = 0.001), higher altitude (P = 0.009), and less crowding (P = 0.001) but not with sibling mortality (P = 0.11). We thus conclude that nutritional status of children in households in the highlands of Nepal is associated with the household's socioeconomic status and altitude but not with mortality among siblings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-144
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996

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