1Department of Nutrition Sciences, Vice-Chancellor for Treatment, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Iran
2Associate Professor, Nutrition and Metabolic Diseases Research Center and Department of Nutrition Sciences, School of Paramedical, Ahwaz Jundi-Shapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahwaz, Iran
3Vice-Chancellor for Treatment, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Iran
4Instructor of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Ahwaz Jundi-ShapurUniversity of Medical Sciences, Ahwaz, Iran
5Resident of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Ahwaz Jundi-Shapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahwaz, Iran
Background & Aims: Malnutrition is defined as nutritional disorders or unfavourable health status that can be the result of overconsumption or underconsumption of one or more nutrients. The causes of malnutrition are complex, multidimensional, and population specific. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has adapted a conceptual framework for facilitating researchers in determining the causes of malnutrition in each area. The aim of this study was to determine some risk factors of growth faltering among 3-36 month old children in Ahwaz, Iran. Methods: This case-control study was conducted on 180 children 3-36 months old in Ahwaz. The subjects were children whose growth curves were horizontal or downward for at least two recent consecutive months. The controls were children with upward growth curves. Data collection was done by face to face interview, family file at the health centers, and direct measurements (mainly for anthropometric measurements). Data analyses were performed by SPSS software. Moreover, chi-square, Mann-Whitney, Kolmogorov-Smirnov, Student’s t-test, and logistic regression were statistical tests which were used according to the type and distribution of the variables. Results: From household variables, the number of family members (P=0.013), number of siblings (P=0.012), and mother’s educational level (P=0.019) showed significant association with growth faltering. Among child variables, the child’s age (P<0.001), child’s birth order (P=0.031), and birth interval with the next child (P=0.004) had significant relationships with growth faltering. Of the child health care variables, the mother’s child care status (P=0.017), and the mother’s nutritional knowledge (P=0.006) had significant relationships with growth faltering. Finally, the pattern of child nutrition (P<0.001), and the age of starting weaning (P < 0.001) showed significant differences between the two groups. Conclusion: This study revealed that the child nutritional pattern, number of family members, number of siblings, child’s age, child’s birth order, birth interval with the next child, mother’s educational level, mother’s child care status, mother’s nutritional knowledge, and the age of starting weaning were related to child malnutrition in Ahwaz. Therefore, appropriate intervention strategies, according to these findings, should be considered by health and other relevant sectors in order to control the problem of childhood malnutrition.