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Factors associated with physical growth of children during the first two years of life in rural and urban areas of Vietnam

Journal article
Authors Huong T Nguyen
Bo Eriksson
Max Petzold
Göran Bondjers
Toan K Tran
Liem T Nguyen
Henry Ascher
Published in BMC Pediatrics
Volume 13
Issue 1
Pages 149
ISSN 1471-2431
Publication year 2013
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Centre for Applied Biostatistics
Institute of Medicine
Pages 149
Language en
Subject categories Clinical Medicine


Abstract Background Differences between urban and rural settings can be seen as a very important example of gaps between groups in a population. The aim of this paper is to compare an urban and a rural area regarding child growth during the first two years of life as related to mother’s use of antenatal care (ANC), breastfeeding and reported symptoms of illness. Methods The studies were conducted in two Health and Demographic Surveillance Sites, one rural and one urban in Hanoi, Vietnam. Results We found that children in the urban area grow faster than those in the rural area. There were statistical associations between growth and the education of the mother as well as household resources. There were positive correlations between the number of ANC visits and child growth. We also saw a positive association between growth and early initiation (first hour of life) of breastfeeding but the reported duration of exclusive breastfeeding was not statistically significantly related to growth. Reporting symptoms of illness was negatively correlated to growth, i.e. morbidity is hampering growth. Conclusions All predictors of growth discussed in this article, ANC, breastfeeding and illness, are associated with social and economic conditions. To improve and maintain good conditions for child growth it is important to strengthen education of mothers and household resources particularly in the rural areas. Globalization and urbanization means obvious risks for increasing gaps not least between urban and rural areas. Improvement of the quality of programs for antenatal care, breastfeeding and integrated management of childhood illness are also needed in Vietnam.

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