Background Work poses potential threats to the physical, emotional, economic, and academic health of teenagers. Like their adult coworkers, teenagers face exposure to a variety of health and safety hazards that can lead to injury and illness. Children’s increased vulnerability puts them at a high risk of work-related health problems. Objectives The aim of this study was to compare growth parameters of working children in contrast to nonworking students, and to compare the frequency of anemia and parasitic infestations among the two groups. Participants and methods A comparative cross-sectional study among 75 working boys in small industrial workshops in Arab Gohaina village in Qaliuobia governorate and 75 students of the same residence was conducted. All children were interviewed and were subjected to physical examination. Their BMI and hemoglobin were measured, and stool samples were examined for parasites. Results Only 11 and 15% of the workers working children eat vegetables and fruits on daily basis compared with 25 and 49% of students respectively ( P <0.001). Mean BMI of the working group was 21.62±2.56 compared with 23.29±3.09 among the students. Students showed more frequency of obesity and overweight than the working group (13.33 and 29.33% compared with 2.67 and 20%, respectively, P =0.009). The hemoglobin level of working children (10.27±0.53 g/dl) was less than that of students (11.31±0.75 g/dl, P <0.001). The frequency of having parasitic infestations among working children was significantly higher than the students ( P <0.001). Conclusion and recommendations Labor was a factor that negatively affected the health of children. More working children in this village had anemia and parasitic infestations than nonworking ones. It is recommended to pay more attention to health problems among working children, with controlling child labor, especially in hazardous occupations and performing periodic medical examination to monitor their health and development.
Journal of the Egyptian Public Health Association – Wolters Kluwer Health
Published: Jun 1, 2015