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256 Pacific coast of the Cauca department is an area physically disconnected from each other and politically neglected, but with a great natural richness and an immense diversity of species (8). Ironically, the same natural resources had become a particular target of national and international economic interventions. Moreover, in the last two decades, guerrillas, paramilitary forces or large agribusiness have exploited and/or invaded most of this region (2). The above leads to predict that this region will remain poor and economically underdeveloped, and as result, with a population nutritionally affected. Despite national nutritional statistics in Colombia have been performed in 2005 and 2010 they do not characterize the whole population of the 32 departments due to high economic costs and long time needed for this purpose. Hence, to date there are no scientific reports in the literature on the nutritional status disaggregated by geographical regions. This may be a disadvantage at the time of design and implement public policies to try reducing the rates of malnutrition, as well as, this would contribute to isolate the Afro-Colombian community of the rest of country. The aim of this study was to assess the nutritional state of school-age children residents in Guapi, Lopez de Micay and Timbiquí, depressed municipalities of the Pacific coast of the Department of Cauca, in order to explore racial/ethnic differences from public data collected by PANES (Food and Nutrition School Programme). SUBJECTS AND METHODS Participants We used the reports of health survey 2014 of PANES programme performed in the Pacific Coast of the department of Cauca (Colombia). This is a governmental programme that develops projects with school population in order to strengthen school restaurants and food safety. A well-trained staff of technicians paid by PANES Programme collected students’ growth parameters of schoolchildren aged between 5 and 18 years enrolled from first grade of elementary school to eleven grade of high school in fifteen educational institutions of the only three municipalities that makes up Pacific coast of Cauca: Guapi, Lopez de Micay and Timbiquí. All parents of the infants and the chancellors of the schools involved were informed about the purpose, procedures, and privacy of the measurements and signed an informed consent. Training about taking proper measurements of weight and height was given to technicians by a contracted expert in nutrition and dietetics. The indicators reported were: height, weight, gender, ethnicity and area of residence; subjects were categorized as urban if they lived in the municipal capital. Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated as weight (kg), divided by height (m) squared. Height-for-age (H/A) and BMI-for-age (BMI/A) were indicators assessed in schoolchildren according to standard classification proposed by World Health Organization (9). The study did not require ethics review, since this is a secondary analysis of publicly available data. In fact, analysis with data from PANES database have recently been published (10, 11). Data analysis Means and standard deviations of height, weight and frequencies (age, gender, ethnic, BMI and municipalities) were calculated. ANOVA test with alpha 0,05 was used to compare the differences in mean values of age, weight and height and frequency values of ethnicity and geographical area in respect to gender. Pearson correlations were fixed Ortega R. y cols. between some variables with a significance level < 0,01. Associations among BMI and gender, age, origin and ethnicity were established by means of cross-tabs using Chi square with a confidence interval of 95 %. Results are considered statistically significant at level < 0,05. Also, the influence of variables of interest on studied parameters was explored using multiple regression models. Standard deviation scores (SDS) for height adjusted for ages were estimated from individual data. “Short” children (SDS height below −1) or “tall” children (SDS height above +1) was based on the national reference data for height of WHO by applying of AnthroPlus software (12). Statistical analyses were performed with SPSS v.20 software. RESULTS Characteristics of schoolchildren participants Descriptive statistics for independent and control variables in this study are presented in table 1. Almost one-third (34,1%) of sample is composed by participants between the ages of 5 and 8 years. Most of the sample were men (53,2%) and nearly half of sample (44,9%) were from the municipality located most northerly on the pacific coast of Cauca, Lopez de Micay. Over 95% of sampled population was Afro and approximately 60% were schoolchildren residents in rural areas of the municipalities evaluated. Normality was above 50%, followed by risk of thinness and risk of stunting according to BMI and height/A, respectively. As shown in table 2, male gender had significantly (p=0,005) higher percentages of participation than female at different age ranges analysed; mainly in schoolchildren between 5 and 8 years old. In addition, averages of weight and height in men were significantly higher than women. No significant differences for BMI and area by gender were found. However, height/A indicator showed higher contributions in the three nutritional status of male schoolchildren than female; as well as, male population from rural areas significantly predominated over female. Indicators of nutritional status Associations between independent variables and nutritional indicators are gathered in tables 3 and 4. BMI/A classification by region showed that normal status (63,1%) prevailed in male schoolchildren (55,5%) living in urban area (57,7%) of Guapi being significantly higher the population between 5 and 8 years (33,0%). In Lopez de Micay and Timbiquí, the prevalence followed a similar tendency; in this case, sample was characterized by being totally Afro. The youngest (31,8%) and inhabitants of rural areas (46,9%) were shown to be the schoolchildren predominant; while Timbiquí presented contributions significantly higher from black men. Regarding to other nutritional status according BMI, table 3 shows that overweight and risk of thinness status were more representative in Guapi (9,5% and 16,8%, respectively) and in Lopez de Micay (14,1% and 12,1%, respectively). The nutritional classification found for the studied population from height/A data (table 4) establishes a significantly higher proportion of black boys with ages between 5 and 8 years with normal values than female schoolchildren of other ages. By region, Guapi and Timbiquí reported the percentages of stunting for female statistically lower than men. With respect to age, adolescents between 12 and 14 years old had a contribution significantly higher to that normality. The amount of children grouped with stunting in Lopez de Micay (73,1%)


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