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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


VASQUEZ-GARIBAY, Edgar Manuel et al. Interpretation of anthropometric indices in children of Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2002, vol.44, n.2, pp.92-99. ISSN 0036-3634.

Objective. To assess the nutritional status of children attending the Instituto Alteño para el Desarrollo de Jalisco (Highlands Institute for Development of Jalisco State, Inadej) in Arandas, Jalisco and to discuss the classification criteria of infant malnutrition in Mexico. Material and Methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 775 children aged between twelve and one hundred and twenty months, who attended Inadej, including 432 children recently registered in INADEJ. Measurements included weight/age, height/age, and weight/height indices. The prevalence of malnutrition was compared using the WHO's criteria and the Mexican Official Norm Classification (NOM-SSA) criteria. The weight/age, height/age and weight/ height indices were compared using the chi-squared test. Results. Parents' schooling level was low (mean=3.6 years); the mean family income was U.S. $198.00 dollars per month, with each family member receiving 0.56 dollars per day for three daily meals. The prevalence of malnutrition was significantly higher with any of the three indices when using the NOM-SSA criteria, as compared to the WHO criteria (weight/age 91.7 vs. 30.9%; height/age 66.9 vs 17.3%; and weight/height 62.5 vs. 9.5%, respectively). Conclusions. The weight/age index and the NOM-SSA criteria overestimate the prevalence of malnutrition and are not able to tell apart children with familial small size, nor those with acute and/or chronic or past malnutrition. The WHO criteria were found to be more useful; the weight/height (recent malnutrition) and height/age (chronic malnutrition) indices should be used for international comparisons.

Keywords : child; nutritional status; anthropometric indicators; Mexico.

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