Rev Chil Nutr Vol. 43, Nº3, 2016 255 Características nutricionales de los escolares afrodescendientes de la costa pacífica Colombiana Nutritional characteristics of afro-descendant schoolchildren of Colombian pacific southwest coast INTRODUCTION On the basis of the most recent Colombian National Survey of Nutritional Status, ENSIN 2010 (1), the Pacific coast is the region with the highest percentages of stunting (18,3%), global malnutrition (4,0%) and excess weight (29,3%) with a prevalence mainly in children. Four departments make up this region: Chocó, Valle del Cauca, Nariño and Cauca, being this last the main contributor to the statistics. This fact is associated to a strong influence of armed conflict on resident population and limited access to food as consequence of the poor road infrastructure of communication with the rest of country. Among the sociodemographic features of its population highlight ethnicity, above 90% population is Afro-Colombian (2). Over years, several investigations have illustrated the marked differences between the nutritional aspects of white and black children; in general, white children have exhibited DOI 10.4067/S0717-75182016000300004 Rubén Andrés Ortega B. (1) Néstor Raúl Basto T. (2) Diana María Chito T. (3) (1) Programa de Administración de Empresas Agropecuarias. Fundación Universitaria de Popayán. Popayán, Colombia. (2) Escuela de Ciencias Agrícolas Pecuarias y del Medio Ambiente. Universidad Nacional Abierta y a Distancia. Popayán, Colombia. (3) Departamento de Química, Edificio de los laboratorios. Universidad del Cauca., Sector Tulcán. Popayán, Colombia. Corresponding Author: Rubén Andrés Ortega Bonilla Fundación Universitaria de Popayán, Programa de Administración de Empresas Agropecuarias, Sede Campestre Los Robles Popayán Km. 8 vía al sur, Colombia Telephone: +57 3205633547 E-mail: email@example.com Este trabajo fue recibido el 18 de Noviembre de 2015 y aceptado para ser publicado el 2 de Julio de 2016. better indicators than black (3) and this fact could encourage risks factors for health in adulthood of the minority group. Chronic diseases are associated with racial/ethnic disparities. Black children have a prevalence of risk for multiple health conditions (asthma, hearing impairment, visual impairment and join/bone/muscle problems) significantly higher than white (4). In addition, it is important to consider the influence of geographic disparities of their places of residence and sociodemographic factors. Historically, Afro people have been forced to survive in areas with extreme climatic conditions (5). From a nutritional point of view, such conditions limit the access to primary nutrients and let to the population vulnerable to multiple risks from early ages (6). On the other hand, the infant mortality rate is an aspect that discriminates the nutritional status of whites and blacks. Findings suggest that mortality rate of black infants tends to be double than of white (7). ABSTRACT This paper provides a current diagnosis on the nutritional status of schoolchildren of pacific coast of Cauca in Colombia. A secondary analysis of publicly available anthropometric data was performed. BMI/Age and H/Age indices, nutritional classification and their association with gender, ethnicity, age and geographical area of 6793 students aged 5 to 18 years of the municipalities of Guapi, Lopez de Micay and Timbiquí were determined. Normality was the prevalent nutritional status in the three municipalities for schoolchildren of all ages according to BMI and height (65.7% and 59.3 %, respectively); Guapi was found to be the main contributor. There was no significant differences of BMI and region among males and females. Adolescents between 12 and 14 years old had percentages of stunting significantly higher than other age ranges. Results highlight the need to identify, measure and monitor indicators of health, food habits and sociodemographic aspects of schoolchildren in this region to strictly explore whether Colombian black children fit WHO patterns and to provide specific information for successful national nutrition policy planning for this population. Key words: ethnic groups, body mass index, stunting, nutritional status, child development.
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