Hygiene conditions and occurrence of diarrheal episodes in children under 5 years old living in Guatemala

Keywords: diarrheal disease, housing and surrounding area salubrity, personal hygiene, water potability, food hygiene


This study aimed to assess the contribution of household hygiene conditions and residential environment salubrity, evaluated by composite indices specifically developed for this study,  to the occurrence of diarrheal conditions in children living in Guatemala. An ecological study was carried out with data from the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance and the National Institute of Statistics. The relationship between the incidence of diarrheal disease and the developed indexes was analyzed using Pearson's correlation coefficients and linear regressions. In 2018, the incidence of this disease in children under 5 was 255.70 cases per 1000 children, with a a maximum of 382.61 cases in the department of San Marcos and a minimum of 95.23 cases in the department of Guatemala. The results reveal the existence of significant associations between the incidence of diarrheal disease and the indexes of salubrty of the residential environment, salubrity of the home environment and hygiene of the food consumed by families in the home context. The indexes of potability of water used for drinking in the home context and personal hygiene were not associated with the disease. Considering each of the variables that make up these two indexes individually, only the percentage of households using shared sanitary facilities revealed an association with the occurrence of diarrhea. We concluded that to reduce the burden of diarrheal disease, it is necessary to implement health education programs focused both on housing and the surrounding space hygiene and food hygiene, and support basic sanitation.


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