Endocrine Abstracts (2008) 16 P493

Prevalence of overweight in comparison to wasting, among Iranian under 5 year-old children in urban and rural

Mitra Abtahi, Anahita Houshiarrad, Morteza Abdollahi & Behnoush Mohammadpour Ahranjani


National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran.


Introduction and aim: Beside protein–energy malnutrition among children, high prevalence of overweight is also a public health problem and a major nutritional challenge in most developing countries. The aim of this research was to determine and compare the prevalence of wasting, overweight and obesity among Iranian urban and rural under 5 year -old children.

Subjects and methods: This study was based on national comprehensive study on household food consumption pattern and nutritional status (2001–2003). Seven thousand and one hundred and fifty eight households in rural and urban areas were selected randomly. Weight and height of 2562 children (< 5 years) were measured and recorded using the standard protocol. Wasting was defined based on NCHS/WHO cutoffs (weight for age ≤2SD Z-scores, respectively) and overweight defined as weight for age ≥2SD. Data were analyzed using MS Access, and SPSS 11.0 softwares.

Results: Children under five years old were 7% of total population. The Prevalence of wasting among children was 10% (2–26%). The Prevalence in rural areas was 4% higher than urban areas (14% vs 10%, P<0.01).The prevalence of overweight were 3% (1–6%) and in urban and rural areas were similar (4% vs 4.5%).

Discussion: Evidence suggests that the prevalence of wasting among Iranian children especially among rural area is a major nutritional problem.

According to high prevalence of overweight and obesity among this age group, there is a need to implement nutritional strategies at micro and macro levels for preventing and controlling malnutrition.

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