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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


MONARREZ, Joel  and  MARTINEZ, Homero. Prevalence of malnutrition in Tarahumara children under 5 years of age in the municipality of Guachochi, Chihuahua. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2000, vol.42, n.1, pp.8-16. ISSN 0036-3634.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of malnutrition among Tarahumara children under 5 years of age in the municipality of Guachochi, Chihuahua, Mexico. MATERIAL AND METHODS: During the summer of 1996, we interviewed a representative sample of 450 children from 62 communities, stratified by size of population. The sample represents 12.2% of the total number of Tarahumaras in the municipality. For each of three anthropometric indices (weight-for-age, weight-for-height and height-for-age), we calculated the Z-score in reference to NCHS population values. Results are presented as means and standard deviations as well as prevalence of malnutrition at different cut-off-points, stratified by age, sex, and size of the community. RESULTS: Prevalence figures of malnutrition (<-2Z) were: weight-for-age: 36.4% (mean SD± -1.66 ±1.1); weight-for-height: 3.5% (mean SD± -0.43 ±0.9); and height-for-age: 57.1% (mean SD± -2.15 ±1.3). Children aged 12-23 months were the most affected, both in weight-for-height and weight-for-age (10.3% and 52.6%, respectively). Children over one year of age presented prevalences of height-for-age <-2Z over 60%. Significant sex differences (p<0.05) were observed, favoring girls. CONCLUSIONS: Malnutrition among Tarahumara children reaches its peak during the second year of life (12-23 months old), affecting boys more than girls. This information may be useful for planning and targeting nutrition intervention programs for this underprivileged indigenous group.

Keywords : protein-energy malnutrition [prevalence]; child; preschool; ethnic groups; Mexico.

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