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Reversing growth deficiency in children: The effect of a community-based intervention

Journal of Pediatric Health Care
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0891-5245(98)90142-0
  • Education
  • Medicine


Abstract Introduction: The effect of a community health nursing intervention on children with growth deficiency (also called nonorganic failure to thrive or growth failure) was examined in a pretest and post-test experimental study. This study evaluated the impact of the intervention on growth quotients, children's diets, parent-child interaction, home environment, and mothers' perceived stress. Methods: The sample consisted of 39 children (ages 3 months to 3 years) with growth deficiency in weight or height for age, weight for height, or a decrease in growth across two percentiles. The children were enrolled in Special Supplemental Feeding Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) clinics in county health departments and were randomly assigned to experimental or control groups. After preliminary data were collected for the entire sample, a community-based intervention was administered to the experimental group during home visits. The intervention included education about nutrition and about parenting and community skills. Results: Data collected after the intervention by a research assistant blind to group assignment indicated positive changes ( P ≤ .05) in the experimental group's growth quotients, home environments, and their mothers' perceived stress. Discussion: This study supports the community health nursing practice of teaching nutrition and child care during home visits to families of children with growth deficiency.

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