The Relationship Between Mothers’ Educational, Employment, Socioeconomic Levels And Children’s Growth: A Cross-Sectional Study In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Background- Children’s normal growth is an indication of well-being and is influenced by multiple factors, which can be genetic or environmental. The environmental factors greatly affect the growth early in life more than genetics do. One of these common factors is the primary caregiver for the children. So, mothers play an affecting role on their children’s growth. Therefore, studying the mothers’ different statuses and their relationships to their children’s growth is essential.
Aim: To explore the effect of mothers’ educational, employment, socioeconomic levels and chronic diseases on their children’s growth in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2015 at eight primary, secondary & tertiary hospitals in Riyadh. It targeted children between one month and seven years old visiting vaccination clinics. Convenience sampling was applied. Data were collected by interviewing mothers to collect their educational, employment and socioeconomic statuses and by measuring and plotting their children’s height and weight on CDC growth charts. Data were analyzed by SPSS version 22 where P-value of <0.05 was shown as significant.
Results: A total of 744 children were screened (392 males, 352 females). The proportion of children having weight and height under the 25th percentile were 40% and 29%, respectively. It was found that the proportion of children having heights under the 25th percentile was significantly higher as mothers’ education decreased (p=0.02). Mothers who worked in the private sector had significantly less proportion of children having weight (p=0.02) and height (p=0.05) under the 25th percentile than public-working and unemployed mothers. Furthermore, mothers who lived in apartments had significantly less proportion of children having height under the 25th percentile than those who lived in houses (p=0.04). Moreover, mothers who lived in rented residences had significantly less proportion of children having weight under the 25th than those who lived in owned ones (p=0.02).
Conclusion:Underweight and short-stature among children is associated with less educated and unemployed mothers and with mothers who lived in houses due to less maternal surveillance. These findings indicate the necessity for introducing the importance of mothers’ social statuses effect on children’s growth during parents counseling.