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Public Health. 1999 Nov;113(6):303-6.

Effect of child labour on growth of children.

Author information

1
Government Medical College, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India.

Abstract

This community based group comparison study was undertaken to assess the effect of child labour on the growth of children. The study subjects were 223 child labourers aged between 8-15 y who were matched by age to an equal number of controls and pair matched for gender. The mean weight of the male child labourers and the controls increased from 23.8 (+/-5.9) to 41.2 (+/-9.7) kg and 23.9 (+/-4.8) to 44.4 (+/-10.3) kg respectively, while mean height increased from 121.5 (+/-12.6) to 151.9 (+/-10.6) cm and 122.0 (+/-8.4) to 154.8 (+/-10.8) cm respectively from 8-15 y. At older ages (12 y and above for weight and 14 y and above for height) the difference was statistically significant. The same was not observed for the female study subjects. Similarly standard deviation (s.d.) scores for weight for age and height for age of male comparison subjects was significantly (P<0.01) nearer to National Centre for Health Statistics (NCHS) standard than that of the child labourers. Body mass index (BMI) below normal value, that is, 18.5 was observed in significantly (P=0.0261) more child labourers 180 (80.7%) than controls 160 (71.1%). With increasing duration of employment BMI decreased from 18.1 (+/-3.5) to 17.3 (+/-2.2). Genital development was observed to be delayed significantly in male child labourers. Therefore, it can be concluded that labouring at a young age has a deleterious effect on the growth of the child.

PIP:

A community-based group comparison study was conducted in two slums in Nagpur, India, to assess the effects of child labor on the growth of children. The subjects included a total of 233 child laborers aged between 8-15 years who were matched by age to an equal number of controls and pair-matched for gender. The mean weight of male child laborers and of controls increased from 23.8 (+or- 5.9) to 41.2 (+or- 9.7) kg and from 23.9 (+or- 4.8) to 44.4 (+or- 10.3) kg, respectively, while mean height increased from 121.5 (+or- 12.6) to 151.9 (+or- 10.6) cm and from 122.0 (+or- 8.4) to 154.8 (+or- 10.8) cm, respectively, for ages 8-15 years. The difference was statistically significant at older ages. Standard deviation scores for weight-for-age and height-for-age of male comparison subjects were significantly (P 0.01) closer to the National Centre for Health Statistics standard than were those of child laborers. Moreover, 80.7% of child laborers had below normal values for body mass index and most of them had significantly delayed genital development. Thus, it can be concluded that child labor has harmful effects on the growth of a child.

PMID:
10637524
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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