• Journal Article

A comparison of nutritional indices of children in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe, with the international reference standard

Citation

Nyirongo, L. O., Chideme-Maradzika, J., Woelk, G., Chapman, G. N., & Siziya, S. (1999). A comparison of nutritional indices of children in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe, with the international reference standard. Central African Journal of Medicine, 45(8), 198-203.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To examine the hypothesis that, the fifth, 50th and 95th percentiles of the weights and heights of primary school children of Chitungwiza Municipality, (a town 30 km south west of Harare, Zimbabwe), did not differ from those of the NCHS reference population of children. DESIGN: A descriptive cross sectional study. SETTING: Chitungwiza Municipality. SUBJECTS: Primary school children aged five to 16 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Height for age < 90%, weight for height < 80% and the comparability of mean weights and heights between the study children and the NCHS reference children. RESULTS: Low rates were found for height for age < 90% (stunting) and for weight for height < 80% (wasting) among the Chitungwiza children, 3.5% (95% CI 2.8%, 4.7%) and 1.9% (CI 0.9%, 3%), respectively. The differences between age and sex matched pairs of the sample mean heights and reference mean heights, and of the sample mean weights and reference mean weights at the fifth, 50th and 95th percentiles, were significant. Chitungwiza children consistently dropped below the NCHS mean weight and height for all three percentiles. CONCLUSION: This study has demonstrated that stunting and wasting is low among Chitungwiza primary school children but that the spread of their heights and weights lies lower than the spread of the heights and weights of the NCHS reference children. We recommend that wider cross sectional and longitudinal anthropometric assessments in a nation wide sample of primary school children be carried out to shed more light on the growth potential of Zimbabwean children