Revista de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
POST, Cora LA; VICTORA, Cesar G and BARROS, Aluísio JD. Low prevalence of wasting: comparison of stunted and non-stunted Brazilian children. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1999, vol.33, n.6, pp. 575-585. ISSN 0034-8910. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89101999000600009.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between abdominal circumference and weight-for-height in children. The average of 18 anthropometric and body proportionality indexes were compared among four groups of children: stunted and non-stunted Brazilians, Peruvians and North-Americans. METHODS: There were studied 386 children aged 6-59 months living in a poor neighborhood in Pelotas, Brazil. Anthropometric measurements (weight, recumbent length or height, sitting height or crown-rump length; head, chest, upper arm and abdominal circumferences; triceps, biceps, subescapular and suprailiac skinfold tickness; biacromial and biiliac breadths) were obtained. Muscle, fat, total upper arm areas, leg length and body proportionality indexes were calculated. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: The study sample showed high levels of morbidity, low parental educational levels, poor access to health services and poor housing conditions. Stunted Brazilian children had lower means for most of the anthropometric measurements when compared to non-stunted Brazilians and North-American children. However, stunted children showed larger abdominal, head and thoracic circumference in relation to their stature than non-stunted children. The low prevalence of weight-for-height among the children of this study is not a result of excess of fat or muscle tissue, and may be partly explained by an increase in head and trunk dimensions (including abdominal circumference) relative to the child's stature.
Keywords : Anthropometry; Body height; Body weight.