oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Malnutrition of children in rural Botswana

Volume 32, Issue 9
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



The nutritional status of 230 children under five years of age (114 boys, 116 girls) was examined at a clinic in Kasane, a village in rural Botswana. Weight, height, arm circumference and haemoglobin were measured and compared to those of children in the USA (Harvard, NCHS, and HANES). Children showed comparable weights to US children for ages 1-9 months. There was 'growth faltering' from ages 9-12 months. Children over one year were shorter and lighter than US children. The percentage of children below 80 per cent Harvard weight-for-age were: boys 15 per cent and girls 28 per cent. The percentage below the 5th percentile NCHS data were for height: boys 16 per cent and girls 17 per cent; for weight: boys 24 per cent and girls 27 per cent; and weight-for-height: boys 18 per cent and girls 14 per cent. The higher proportion of malnourished girls using the Harvard data is due to the use of a combined male-female reference population. These results show that the number of 'malnourished' children will depend on the method, cut-off value. and reference population chosen.

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