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Chague F.,ONG PHANS Projet humanitaire Afrique Nord Sud | Varloteaux M.,ONG PHANS Projet humanitaire Afrique Nord Sud | Renaud C.,ONG PHANS Projet humanitaire Afrique Nord Sud | Brune V.,ONG PHANS Projet humanitaire Afrique Nord Sud | And 2 more authors.
Medecine et Sante Tropicales

Relations between ethnicity and child malnutrition in rural Benin. Rationale. In a therapeutic feeding center in northern Benin, we found disparities between the three main ethnic groups in the proportions of children hospitalized; undernutrition seemed more frequent and severe in the Gando than in the Bariba and the Fulani groups. This survey sought to identify risk factors for malnutrition. Methods. We used a standardized questionnaire to interviewwomen from these three groups, all with a child aged 5 years or younger. Results. The study included 165 mothers from the three main ethnic groups, 62 of whom had weaned a child. Children from the Bariba group seemed to have access to better sanitary and nutritional conditions than those from the Gando and Fulani groups: higher quality water (from boreholes), more frequent access to latrines, higher usage of bed nets, higher likelihood of birth in a medicalized environment, early breastfeeding, and progressive and voluntary weaning. During and after weaning, children from the Fulani group receivedmore milkbased food than the other groups. In the Fulani group, therefore, the supply of milk of animal origin may compensate for some less favorable practices related to childbirth and breastfeeding. Conclusion.Weidentified several factors, probably influenced by socioeconomic and cultural conditions, that probably affect child undernutrition. Sanitary and nutritional education programs should be conducted to target specific ethnic groups of this region. Source

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