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Iran J Pediatr. 2015 Aug;25(4):e2004. doi: 10.5812/ijp.2004. Epub 2015 Aug 24.

The Comparison of Under-Five-Children's Nutrition Status Among Ethnic Groups in North of Iran, 1998 - 2013; Results of a Three Stages Cross-Sectional Study.

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Metabolic Disorders Research Center, Golestan University of Medical Sciences, Gorgan, IR Iran.



Despite improvements in child health, malnutrition still remains one of the main public health challenges in Iran.


The aim of this study was to compare under nutrition among under-five children with regard to ethnicity in rural area in north Iran.


In three cross-sectional studies 7575 subjects in three time-periods including 2339 children in 1998, 2749 in 2004, and 2487 in 2013, were evaluated. All under-five-children in 20 out of 118 villages were chosen by random sampling and assessed. Under nutrition was defined as underweight, stunting and wasting lower than -2 SD (Z < -2 SD).


Generally, stunting was declined 17.1% and underweight and wasting were increased 0.9% and 1%, respectively during 15 years (1998 - 2013). Underweight increased 0.5% in Fars-natives and 3.2% in Turkmans and it was decreased 0.9% in Sistanis. Statistical difference in Turkman children among the three stages of the study was significant (P = 0.001). Stunting has decreased 28.7% in Fars-natives and 35.1% in Sistanis, it was increased 9.3% in Turkman group. Statistical differences among three stages in inter-ethnic groups were significant (P = 0.001 for all). Compared the group with good economic status, the odds ratio was 1.831 in poor economic group (P = 0.001). The risk of under nutrition in Sistanis was 1.754 times more than in Fars-natives (P = 0.001).


Under nutrition remains one of the main health problems in under-five-year children in north Iran being more common in Sistani children. Stunting in Sistani children deeply decreased while in Turkman children slightly increased during the 15-year period study. Poor economic status is a risk factor for under nutrition in this area.


Child; Ethnicity; Iran; Under Nutrition

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