Dimensions of nutritional vulnerability: Assessment of women and children in Sahariya tribal community of Madhya Pradesh in India

Dimensions of nutritional vulnerability: Assessment of women and children in Sahariya tribal community of Madhya Pradesh in India

Tribal communities are "at risk" of undernutrition due to geographical isolation and suboptimal utilization of health services. The objective of this study was to assess the nutritional status of Sahariya tribes of Madhya Pradesh (MP), India. 

A cross-sectional study was conducted in villages inhabited by Sahariya tribal community (specifically women in reproductive age group and children under 5 years) in three districts of MP. Dietary surveys, anthropometric and biochemical assessments were carried out and descriptive statistics on the socio-economic and nutritional profile were reported. Association between household (HH) food security and nutritional status of children was carried out using the logistic regression. Strength of effects were summarized by odd's ratio.

Results:

  • Chronic energy deficiency and anemia was observed in 42.4% and 90.1% of women respectively.
  • Underweight, stunting and wasting among under five children were 59.1%, 57.3% and 27.7% respectively.
  • Low food security was found in 90% of HHs and the odds of children being underweight and stunted when belonging to HHs with low and very low food security was found to be significant (P = 0.01 and 0.04 respectively).
  • Calorie, fat, vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin C and folic acid intake among women was lower than recommended dietary allowance.
  • Infant and young child feeding practices were suboptimal.
  • Awareness on nutritional disorders and utilization of nutrition and health services was poor.

The authors conclude that a high prevalence of undernutrition and dietary deficiency exists among Sahariyas. System strengthening, community empowerment and nutrition education may play a pivotal role in addressing this.