Aim: The study aimed at assessing clinical and nutritional features and socioeconomic characteristics of the first birth-order children (1-48 months) of adolescent mothers.
Methods: Five hundred and thirty-nine first birth-order children of both sexes, aged 1-48 month(s) were studied. All study children had adolescent mothers aged < or =19 years (when attending hospital), who attended (as a patient) the Dhaka hospital of ICDDR, B during 2000-2005. A similar group of children (n = 540) of mothers aged 25-29 years (when attending hospital) constituted the comparison group.
Results: Malnutrition indicated by underweight [OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.7-3.1, p < 0.001], stunting [OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.5-2.8, p < 0.001], wasting [OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.3-2.7, p = 0.001], infancy (<12 months old) [OR 2.8, 95% CI 2.1-3.9, p < 0.001], duration of hospitalization (> or =48 h) [OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.2-2.2, p = 0.001], DPT immunization [OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.3-2.5, p = 0.001] and maternal illiteracy (no formal schooling) [OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1-2.0, p = 0.007] were significantly associated with children of adolescent mothers, after adjusting for co-variates in the logistic regression analysis. Similar results were also observed when different indices of malnutrition (stunting, underweight or wasting) were added separately to the different models.
Conclusion: Children of adolescent mothers are likely to be more malnourished, have lesser opportunities for DPT immunization and have longer duration of hospitalization. Adolescent mothers were also more likely to be illiterate. Therefore, the development of preventive and therapeutic strategies will be required to reduce morbidity and improve the health and nutrition status of both children and their adolescent mothers.