Study identifies risk factors for malnutrition among children in Pakistan

Children who are breastfed are less likely to be underweight

According to a recent study conducted by International Islamic University in Pakistan, smoking and the older age of the mother are identified as the major risk factors for both stunting and being underweight for children under five.

Breastfeeding practices, high economic status, average or above the average birth weight of the child, and use of formula milk are protective factors against stunting, wasting, or underweight children. As per the researchers, awareness campaigns should be launched to prevent mothers from smoking and to promote breastfeeding. Older mothers should be provided supplements during pregnancy. Pregnant women should be careful about their dietary intake during pregnancy for the health outcomes of pregnancy.

In Pakistan, among children less than five years, 44% were found stunted, 31% were found underweight and 15% were found wasted. Pakistan is among those seven countries of the world that bear the burden of two-third of the undernourished population of the world. Globally, Pakistan has been placed at 77th number out of 113 countries that are facing malnutrition. In the South Asian Region, Pakistan has the highest number of stunted children while if a comparison is made for southern countries, Pakistan has the highest wasting of children.

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