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Abstract

A CONTROLLED STUDY OF BODY MASS INDEX IN KENYAN CHILDREN WITH HEARING DISABILITY

June Njama, Gladys Opinya* and Edith Ngatia

ABSTRACT

Poor nutritional status of children with a hearing disability (HD) is of growing interest, as countries with high levels of malnutrition often report higher rates of disability. The study intended to determine the levels of hearing impairment among children aged 5-15 years and compare the body mass index (BMI) of children with and without HD. Eighty-one children had HD (hearing loss ≥31dB in the better ear), and eighty-one children had no HD (hearing loss ≤30dB in the better ear). BMI for age was assessed according to the WHO reference standards for children with HD. Those found to be healthy, underweight, overweight and obese were 56 (69.1%), 18 (22.2%), 6 (7.4%) and 1 (1.3%) respectively. Children without HD who were healthy, underweight, overweight and obese were 63 (77.8%), 11 (13.6%), 3 (3.7%) and 4 (4.9%) respectively. Children with HD were found to have a higher prevalence of being underweight than children without HD. They were 1.82 times more likely to be underweight (p=0.15), and two times more likely to be overweight (p=0.30); compared to their non-disabled counterparts. This study concluded that though the differences were insignificant, children with HD were nutritionally disadvantaged compared to children without HD.

Keywords: Hearing; Disability; BMI; Weight; Height.


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