Objective: Adequate nutrition is critical for normal development during childhood. The nutritional status of schoolchildren living in the interior Suriname, South America, is of growing concern to the Medical Mission Primary Healthcare Suriname (MM) that provides healthcare in this region. This study aims to evaluate the nutritional status of these schoolchildren.
Methods: Medical Mission Primary Healthcare Suriname 2015 interior schools’ screening data on height, weight and demographics of all schoolchildren aged 4‒14 years was used in this cross-sectional retrospective study. Malnutrition was defined as BMI <-2SD and stunting as height-for-age z-score <-2SD. Potential determinants of malnutrition and stunting: age, sex and ethnicity, were assessed using logistic regression analysis.
Results: Of 3.863 schoolchildren, 51% were young (4-8 years), 49% older (9-14 years), 50% male, and 82.6%, 15.3% and 2.1% were of Maroon, Amerindian, and mixed ethnicity, respectively. 5.4% of the schoolchildren were malnourished and 9.2% were stunted, including 1.6% who were severely stunted (<-3SD). In multivariable analysis, younger age (OR 1.8; 95%, CI 1.4-2.4) and Maroon children (OR=2.2; 95%, CI 1.3-3.8 compared to Amerindians) were more often malnourished, sex was not of influence. Boys (OR=1.7; 95%, CI 1.4-2.2), older children (OR 1.4; 95%, CI 1.1-1.8) and Amerindians (OR=2.4; 95%, CI 1.8-3.0 compared to Maroons) were more often stunted.
Conclusion: 5.4% of Suriname’s interior schoolchildren were malnourished and 9.2 % were stunted. Younger and Maroon children were more often malnourished, whereas older children, boys and Amerindians were more often stunted. Future studies are needed to determine causes of malnutrition and stunting and may support adaptation of MM schoolchildren nutrition programmes.
Manuscripts that are Published Ahead of Print have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by the Editorial Board of the West Indian Medical Journal. They may appear in their original format and may not be copy edited or formatted in the style guide of this Journal. While accepted manuscripts are not yet assigned a volume, issue or page numbers, they can be cited using the DOI and date of e-publication. See our Instructions for Authors on how to properly cite manuscripts at this stage. The contents of the manuscript may change before it is published in its final form. Manuscripts in this section will be removed once they have been issued to a volume and issue, but will still retain the DOI and date of e-publication.