The Relationship of Ethnicity, Socio-economic Factors and Malnutrition in Primary School Children in North of Iran: A Cross-sectional Study

Gholamreza Veghari


Background: The main objective of this study was to assess the malnutrition and some socio-economic related factors based on three ethnic groups among primary school children in north of Iran in 2010.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out through multistage cluster random sampling on 5698 subjects (2505 Fars-native, 2154 Turkman, and 1039 Sistani) in 112 schools. Well-trained staffs completed the questionnaire and measured students' weight and height. Malnutrition estimated the Z-score less than -2SD for underweight, stunting and wasting were calculated using the cutoffs from WHO references.

Results: Generally, malnutrition was observed in 3.20%, 4.93% and 5.13% based on underweight, stunting and wasting respectively. It was more common in girls than in boys and in Sistani than in other ethnic groups. The correlation between malnutrition based on underweight and stunting and ethnicity was statistically significant (P=0.001). Results of logistic regression analyses showed that the risk of malnutrition was in rural area 1.34 times more than urban area, in girls 1.17 times more than boys, in Sistani ethnic group 1.82 times more than Fars-native ethnic group, in low economic families 2.01 times more than high economic families.

Conclusion: Underweight, stunting and wasting are the health problems in primary school children in north of Iran with a higher prevalence in girls, in rural areas, and in Sistani ethnic group.


Malnutrition; Ethnicity; School-Age Populations; Socioeconomic Factors; Iran

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