Assessing the Association between Nutritional Status and Asymptomatic Malaria Parasitaemia of Children Under Five Years in Ghana

No Thumbnail Available
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Pyrex Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
Background: Undernutrition and malaria are major public health challenges and are the main causes of morbidity and mortality in low and/or middle income settings. To fulfil a research need, this study was conducted to determine the association between nutritional status including anaemia and asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia in children under five years old. Methods: This was a community based cross-sectional study, conducted in four communities from randomly selected regions in Ghana. Blood samples and anthropometric measures of 250 children were collected for analyses. Parents of children involved in the study, also completed a questionnaire. Results: The prevalence of asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia was 14.8% and anaemia (Hb < 11.0 g/dl) was 58.8%. Binomial logistic regression analysis predicted no significant association between asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia and weight-for-height z-scores (p = 0.592; OR = 1.234; 95% CI: 0.573-2.658), height-for-age z-scores (p = 0.169; OR = 0.651; 95% CI: 0.353-1.200) and weight-for-age z-scores (p = 0.832; OR = 1.094; 95% CI: 0.478- 2.504). However, asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia was a significant predictor of anaemia (p = 0.04; OR = 2.419; 95% CI: 1.041-5.622) and ages beyond two years were risk factors for anaemia. Stunting however was associated with a significant lower odds of being anaemic (p = 0.003; OR = 0.484; 95% CI: 0.301- 0.778). Conclusions: Asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia may have no effect on anthropometric measurements of young children or asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia have no significant influence on anthropometric measures of young children in the short or long term. However, children with asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia are more likely to be anaemic especially after two years. Stunting however may reduce the risk of anaemia in children. This suggests that, asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia may be a contributory factor to the existing burden of anaemia in children from developing countries. Efforts should therefore be made to screen for asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia during routine growth monitoring sessions.
This is an article published in Pyrex Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. Vol 2 (1) pp. 1-14 March, 2017
Pyrex Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. Vol 2 (1) pp. 1-14 March, 2017