oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Anthropometry in the assessment of the current nutritional status of school children

Volume 21, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



Measurements of height, weight and triceps skinfold thickness were taken on African school children in three urban, peri-urban and tribal trust land communities in Rhodesia in order to; assess their current nutritional status. The children were classified according to their degree of stunting (percentage expected height for age) which reflects antecedent nutritional status, and degree of wasting (percentage expected weight for height), a reflection of current nutritional status. Only 4,2 per cent of; urban and peri-urban children were found to be wasted (weight for height below 90 per cent. of expected). Percentages of children in the three tribal trust land communities who were wasted 10,0, 13,7 and 36,6. The highest percentage was observed in a community which had an acute shortage of food arising from a recent severe drought. Skinfold thickness were not found to be useful for the assessment of marginal malnutrition. The conclusion is drawn that degree of wasting may be used as a criterion of the necessity for school feeding schemes in situations of drought or poverty.

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