Urbanization and child growth in Nepal
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The growth of children (0-60 months) of rural-to-urban migrant women was studied in a population of carpet-making workers in a peri-urban community of Kathmandu, Nepal. Mean height-for-age (HAZ) and weight-for-age (WAZ) z-scores are compared for two groups of children belonging to recent urban migrant women (resident <5 years) and to long-term migrants (resident ⩾5 years). The process of urbanization and adaptation to the city environment was explored by examining cohort differences in health care utilization, diarrheal morbidity, breastfeeding practices, demographic, and socioeconomic characteristics. On average, both children of recent and long-term migrants have moderate-to-severe linear growth retardation after 12 months of age. There is, however, a statistically significant difference in mean HAZ and WAZ scores between children depending on maternal length of urban residence status; children of long-term migrants have better growth status compared to children of recent migrants. Nevertheless, there are no significant differences between long-term and recent migrant families in terms of socioeconomic characteristics and selected biobehavioral practices which have been associated with modernization and adaptation to an urban environment. It is concluded that the process of adaptation to an urban environment cannot be explained by standard biobehavioral indicators of modernization and requires further consideration. Am. J Hum. Biol. 10:307-315, 1998. © 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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