Assessment of Nutritional Status Based on Head Circumference among the Rajbanshi Children of North Bengal, India.
Kaustuv Debsarma, Gopal Chandra Mandal and Jayanta Kumar Nayak
Malnutrition during childhood is still prevalent in parts of the world, with over three-quarters of the world’s malnourished children living in Southern Asia including India. Childhood malnutrition is a serious concern because it can affect the growth potential and the risk of morbidity and mortality in later life. Head circumference (HC) is one measure for evaluating the nutritional status of children during the first years of life when brain and skull are still growing. The present study assesses the nutritional status of Rajbanshi children in North Bengal by using WHO (2007) recommended cutoff points for head circumference. Age-combined mean HC was slightly higher among boys (46.8 cm) than girls (45.7 cm). We found the expected gradual increase of mean values with rising age of the children. The overall prevalence of age- and sex-combined malnutrition according to WHO cutoffs was 20.5%, 18.8% among boys and 22.2% among girls. The difference between boys and girls was not statistically significant. Regular monitoring of the physical status of children who are at risk of malnutrition is recommended.Download PDF