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[The status on care and nutrition of 774 children staying in rural areas while parents were in towns].

[Article in Chinese]

Author information

  • 1Department of Public Health, Central South University, Changsha 410008, China.



To understand the status on care and nutrition of children living in the rural areas (so called 'left-behind' children) while their parents were seeking for jobs in the urban areas.


Cross-sectional study was employed in this investigation. The group of 'left-behind' children (n = 774) and the comparison group (n = 774) were identified. The ascertainment methods mainly included questionnaire, anthropometrics measurements, food-frequency, and laboratory examination.


Data from this study revealed that the guardians of the 'left-behind' children had less ability to ensure daily food that the children demanded than the control group and the 'left-behind' children were more likely to be poorly attended (chi2 = 6.671, P = 0.036; xhi2 = 15.053, P = 0.001). Mothers who chose to work outside of their households would tend to choose bottle-feeding or decrease the duration of breastfeeding for their infants (chi2 = 5. 051, P = 0.031; t = -7.201, P = 0.001). The intake of milk and bean products in children younger than 2 years old and cereal intake in children aged 2 to 4 in the group of 'left-behind' children were obviously lower than that seen in the control group (t = -2.150, P = 0.032; t = -2.054, P = 0.040 respectively). The 'left-behind' children were in high prevalence of anemia, and showed significant difference when comparing with the control group (chi2 = 4.560, P = 0.033).


Children under 'left-behind' situation were in poor nutrition. Recognition of this situation by the communities, parents and extended families would facilitate more attention and effective intervention programs to improve the situation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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