Undernutrition and its Associated Factors among Pediatric Age Children Attending Antiretroviral Therapy in Eastern Ethiopia

  • Betelihem Haileselassie
  • Kedir Teji Roba
  • Fitsum Weldegebreal


Background: Undernutrition results from insufficient food intake and repeated infectious diseases. Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection and malnutrition often coexist, which increases the risk of morbidity and mortality. Despite this fact, HIV-positive children are often overlooked, and their nutritional status has not been well studied in Ethiopia. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the magnitude of undernutrition and its associated factors among pediatric age children attending Antiretroviral Therapy in selected public hospitals of Eastern Ethiopia.    Methods: An institutional based cross-sectional study was conducted from February to March 2018. Three hundred seventy six HIV-positive children aged 2-15 years were selected through simple random sampling technique. A pretested questionnaire was used to collect the data through an interview method in a local language. Nutritional status was assessed using WHO growth standard values, using the WHO Anthro for children less than five and WHO Anthro plus for children over five years. The collected data were entered in to EpiData version 3.1, and transferred to SPSS version 20 for analysis. Statistical significance was declared for P-values less than 0.05 at 95% confidence interval.  Results: This study found that 24.7% (95% CI: 20.7, 29.4) of the children were stunted and 28.2% (95% CI: 23.7, 32.2) were wasted. Household food insecurity, being anemic, presence of diarrhea during the last 14 days and advanced WHO clinical stages were significantly associated with stunting. While being male, low family monthly income, medium family monthly income, low (poor and medium) dietary diversity, low food consumption score, and the presence of diarrhea during the last 14 days were significantly associated with wasting. Conclusion: The magnitude of stunting and wasting among HIV-infected pediatric patients is relatively high in the study area. Therefore, more attention should be given in promoting nutritional education for HIV-positive children including dietary diversity and feeding practices to strengthen the immune system.

Keywords: Pediatric; ART; Stunting; wasting; Undernutrition; Eastern Ethiopia


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