Socio-demographic characteristics, breast feeding practices and household sanitation as risk factors for diarrhoeal illness in under five children

Amita U. Surana, Dorothy S. Sengupta, Harshal R. Chauhan, Hetal P. Budh, Toral Gandhi


Background: Acute diarrhoeal disease among children under 5 years remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality. In India, diarrhoea attributes to 13% of under-5 mortality. As most diarrhoeal diseases have feco-oral route of transmission, the source of water supply, sanitary measures and personal hygiene are important factors in prevention of same. This study aims to determine various risk factors for diarrhoeal illnesses.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional observational case-control study done among under-5 children hospitalized during rainy months in paediatric ward of tertiary care centre. Information regarding participant’s age, sex, immunization status and breast feeding practices collected from the mother or caregiver of the child using a structured questionnaire.

Results: Out of 55 cases and 55 controls enrolled, there was no significant difference in birth weight, gender, immunization status, socio economic profile, hygiene practices and sanitation facility between two groups. Statistically significant difference (p 0.01717) was seen in wasting associated with cases and controls however no difference in proportion of stunting was noted. The cases showed early age of start of complimentary feeding (5.86± 1.38m) and less duration of total breast feeding (15.94±4.09m) as compared to controls. Bottle feeding was seen in 69% cases as compared to 53% controls.

Conclusions: In socio economically and environmentally similar conditions, faulty feeding is a significant risk factor for diarrhoeal illness in under 5 children. Wasting is also a significant risk factor associated with the same.


Breast feeding, Diarrhoea, Handwashing, Socio economic risk factors

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