A study on the effects of malnutrition on pediatric pneumonia patients

Farah Ahmed, Zahid Ali Memon, Aisha Mehnaz, Bilal Ashraf Khokhar, Saba Alvi, Naseem Ahmed

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: The aim of the study is to evaluate the effect of malnutrition on pneumonia. Background: Pneumonia is the single entity that remains the leading cause of death in children under five worldwide. It accounts for about 1.6 million deaths a year in pediatric age group. Out of it 18% of all deaths among children are under five. Greater than 99% of all deaths due to pneumonia occur in low and middle-income countries. Nearly one-third of children in the developing world are malnourished. The undernourished children are more vulnerable to the severe and deadly effects of infectious diseases as compared to children who are adequately nourished. Another study from the neighboring country India also showed significant association of malnutrition prevalence with increased respiratory tract infections. Materials and Methods: This was a prospective cross-sectional study. Setting was Pediatrics Unit 1 at Civil Hospital, Karachi. Sample size was 540. Children less than 2 months and more than 60 months of age plus any patient if suffering from other illnesses other than pneumonia i.e co-morbidity were excluded. The patients who fulfill the inclusion criteria were selected. A written consent was taken from the mother/father/attendant of the patient. The data was collected according to the formed proforma after taking pretest socio-demographic data. The variables included examination finding, general condition of the patient, weight, height, mid upper arm circumference, chest x-ray, positive findings of pneumonia and mortality. The study does not involve any experimental/interventional work nor any out of routine procedures. Results: Rate of response was 100%. Majority (61.3%) of pneumonic patients were males and 38.7% were females, 45.7% were aged between 2-11 Months while 54.3%12-60 Months. The mortality was 8.52%.The children found to have malnutrition had a significantly higher mortality at a p-value of 0.00 than the ones who were well nourished. Moderate malnutrition was present in 30% while 8.33% had severe malnutrition, in total 38.33 had malnutrition. Children with severe malnutrition had more episodes of ARI at a p value of 0.33. Children with severe malnutrition had more previous episodes of pneumonia at a p value of 0.33. Association of severity of malnutrition with severity of pneumonia was significant with a p value of 0.02. Conclusion: Eliminating the malnutrition will result in significant fall in the mortality and morbidity due to pneumonia in pediatric age group and it will also lessen down the number of episodes of pneumonia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-21
Number of pages5
JournalPakistan Paediatric Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Pediatrictrition malnutrition
  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory tract infections


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