Assessment of Nutritional Status of Preschool Children: Head Circumference and Other Anthropometric Indices
Background: Undernutrition is one of the major responsible factors of morbidity and mortality among preschool children in the most developing countries. Weight for age Z-score (WAZ), height for age Z-score (HAZ) and weigh for height Z-score (WHZ) are widely used for indicating nutritional status of children. Therefore, the study was conducted to interpret the nutritional status based on head circumference for age z score (HCAZ), WAZ, HAZ and WHZ among children aged from 36 to 71 months in Rajshahi City area, Bangladesh.
Methods: This cross-sectional study included one thousand and thirty five preschool children. Of them, 538 were boys and 497 were girls. Data were collected during the period of March 2017 to March 2018, using multistage random sampling method. Head circumference (HC) was measured (cm) and HC-for-age Z-score (HCAZ) was calculated according to World Health Organization recommendations. Z-score values of HC <-2 standard deviation below from the reference population were considered as undernourished. Z score -3 <HC< -2 standard deviation were taken as moderately undernourished whereas, ‘≤−3’ standard deviation were considered as severely undernourished, respectively.
Results: Among boys the mean age and HC were 53.58 ± 10.68 and 48.62 ± 1.87 whereas, among girls the mean age and HC were 51.35 ± 11.17 and 48.00 ± 1.84 respectively. According to HC, the rate of moderate and severe malnourished children among boys were 33.3 % and 6.3% and among girls 30% and 13.5% respectively. The prevalence of malnutrition was higher according to HC for age in comparison to other parameters. The study revealed that 33.3% and 12.4% stunted, 41.3% and 12.7% underweight and 41.9% and 9.5% wasted children were moderately malnourished and severely malnourished according to HC respectively. The relationship between these three indicators and HC for age were statistically significant.
Conclusion: As head circumference (HC) is a reliable physical index of both past nutritional situation and brain development and important indicator for measuring nutritional status, routine measurement and intervention for assessing and removing undernutrition is to be recommended.
Bangladesh Med Res Counc Bull 2018; 44: 152-159
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