Body Mass Index, Weight‑for‑age, and Stature‑for‑age Indices in Iranian School Children in Relation to Weight and Growth Disorders: A  Population‑based Survey

Sakineh Jafari, Maryam Fouladgar, Marjan Manouchehri Naeeni, Maryam Fakhri, Sayed Azim Fatemi, Kamal Heidari, Saeed Bagheri


Background: Present study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of grades of nutritional status comprising underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obesity as well as other measurable anthropometric indicators of body mass index  (BMI) in regard to gender, educational level, and living area among students settled in Isfahan province.
Methods: This cross‑sectional study was conducted on a sample of 4700 individuals  (2349  females and 2351  males) being from 9 to 15  years old, while they were students of either primary school or junior high school. Random cluster method was applied in both urban  (84%) and rural  (16%) areas of Isfahan province. BMI values were measured and then categorized using reference growth charts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC 2000). Weight‑for‑age and stature‑for‑age indices were assessed as well in accordance with CDC growth charts.
Results: The overall prevalence of underweight, overweight, and obesity was 13.9, 10.4, and 5.7%, respectively. Boys and students of urban areas showed a higher tendency of obesity and overweight in comparison with girls and rural students respectively. Furthermore, rural students had poorer status in both weight‑for‑age and stature‑for‑age indices. In addition, educational level was the only statistically efficacious factor.
Conclusions: This study and previous ones demonstrated that children and adolescents’ nutritional status, which strongly affect general health status of individuals, should receive more exquisite attention.
Keywords: Body mass index, child, malnutrition, nutritional status, obesity, overweight

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