In developing countries like Ethiopia, the effect o f mild to moderate chronic malnutrition on the development of children is both understudied and un der-attended. To assess the pattern of cognitive development of toddlers, to identify their nutritio nal status and to determine the effect of mild to moderate chronic malnutrition on cognitive developm ent, fifty three children of age 29-42.5 months were studied from May-June, 2011 in Jimma town, Eth iopia. Cognitive development was measured in Bayley scales-III, and nutritional assessment was d one using anthropometric measurements. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 16 and ANTHRO 2007. Desc riptive statistics, Pearson correlations, t-test and ANOVA test were computed. Cognitive development of the children was 7 (13.5%) average, 40 (77%) low average, and 3 (5.8%) borderline. The dev elopmental age of the children was 12.3 +/- 4 months behind their chronological age. The chronolo gical age of the children had negative correlations with cognitive composite scores (p<0.01, r = - 0.46 ). Mild to moderate stunting was associated with lower cognitive level (p<0.05, eta squared= 0.09). Mild and moderate malnutrition can have a significa nt negative effect on cognitive development. Researche rs, schools and healthcare providers should give it adequate attention.
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