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Nutritional impact of resettlement of internally displaced people in Northern Iraq

Pushpa Acharya, University of Massachusetts Amherst


A survey aimed at assessing the nutritional impact of resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) was conducted in Northern Iraq between July and November 2000. The sample consisted of 301 households in the collective town of Dyana, representing the IDPs, and 282 households in ten villages of Rostey Valley, representing the resettled IDPs. The methodology consisted of structured questionnaires, anthropometry, and measurement of hemoglobin levels of one child under the age five years, one adult mate, and one adult female per household. The prevalence of low height-for-age among the children from the resettled households was 30.6% and among those still in the collective town was 18.9% (p < 0.01). Incidence of diarrhea was more than three times and acute respiratory infection (ARI) was more than seven times among the children in the collective town (p < 0.01). No significant differences existed in acute malnutrition and underweight rates among the children or in adult BMIs between the two populations. Anemia was present among 56.8% of the children in the collective town and among 46.8% of the children in the resettled villages (p < 0.01). When children who had diarrhea and ARI during the two weeks prior to the survey were removed from the analysis, the difference was not statistically significant, suggesting that the higher prevalence rate of anemia in the collective town may be due to higher infection rate. The presence of anemia among both male (42.9%) and female (47.2%) adults was significantly higher among the IDPs in the collective town than among the male (22.5%) and female (28.0%) adults in the resettled villages (p < 0.01). Except for vegetables, all other types of food were available in higher quantities to the resettled households (p < 0.05). Availability of food energy, protein, iron, zinc, thiamin, and folic acid was significantly higher in the resettled villages and availability of calcium, riboflavin, and vitamins C and A was significantly higher in the collective town (p < 0.05). The IDPs in the collective town had better diet diversity (p < 0.05). These results show that the resettled IDPs did not have a superior nutritional status than those still considered IDPs.

Subject Area

Nutrition|Public health|Welfare

Recommended Citation

Acharya, Pushpa, "Nutritional impact of resettlement of internally displaced people in Northern Iraq" (2002). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3039332.