Background: Health status of infants is a sensitive indicator of development and factors influencing it need to be better understood. Objectives: This study was conducted to search for factors associated with morbidity among infants and to find out their influence on weight gain during infancy. Materials and Methods: This longitudinal study was undertaken in south India from November 2004 till April 2006. A birth cohort of all children born during first 6 months of the study period were assessed at enrollment and followed up monthly till they attained 1 year of age. Results: Incidence of morbidity among infants was found to be least among those exclusively breast fed (EBF) for 6 months and most when EBF for less than 6 months (P = 0.045). It was also more when infants were weaned with a combination of animal milk, formula milk, semi-solids and solid diet and least when weaned only with semi-solids and solids (P = 0.018). Diarrheal episodes were more in infants who were bottle-fed (P < 0.001). Weight gain between 6 th and 12 th month of infancy was found to be significantly affected by various morbidities (P = 0.001). Incidence of morbidities was less among preterm babies and more among partially immunized (P < 0.001) babies with birth order ≥ 3 (P = 0.012), babies of mothers with low socio-economic and educational status. Delayed milestones during infancy was seen more in babies with history of birth asphyxia (P = 0.018). Conclusion: Several factors influenced incidence of morbidities and these morbidities had a negative effect on weight gain. Hence these factors need to be addressed to promote better child health.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health