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Malnutrition in Iraqi Children Following the Gulf War: Results of a National Survey

Mary C. Smith M.Sc., Sarah Zaidi M.Sc.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.1993.tb03073.x 74-78 First published online: 1 March 1993


The community-based Iraq Infant and Child Mortality and Nutrition Survey was designed to estimate mortality and nutritional status of Iraqi infants and children under five years of age after the Gulf conflict of 1991. This article presents results from a nationwide nutritional survey conducted between August 25 and September 5, 1991.

A random multistage cluster sample was selected, including a subsample of 2676 children in the anthropometric analysis. The percentage below -2 standard deviations was 21.8% for height-for-age, 11.9% for weight-for-age, and 3.4% for weight-for-height. It is possible that the observed prevalence of wasting was an underestimate, resulting from a survivor bias. This observation suggests that cross-sectional nutritional surveys may not be the most appropriate method for assessing the effect of the Gulf conflict on the nutritional status of children in Iraq. Longitudinal information on child mortality and nutritional status would be more useful in predicting the likelihood of famine.

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