Prevalence of malnutrition in Spanish schoolchildren

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Introduction and aims: The term malnutrition includes malnutrition due to excess or obesity, underweight as well as stunted growth. Its prevalence in a population can be estimated using anthropometric variables. The aim of this study is to estimate the prevalence of malnutrition in Galician schoolchildren aged 6 to 15 years in the school year 2013-2014. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on a representative sample by gender and age of the Galician population of 6 to 15 years old. The prevalence of obesity, underweight, and short stature was estimated by age and gender using the reference standards proposed by the World Health Organisation. Results: Of the total of 7,438 schoolchildren weighed and measured, 16.4% had malnutrition. The prevalence of obesity was 14.8%, underweight was 0.7%, and short stature for age was estimated at 1%. Obesity was more prevalent among boys. As regards underweight and short stature, when there were differences, prevalence was higher among girls. Conclusions: In Galicia, 16 out of every 100 schoolchildren aged 6 to 15 years had malnutrition, with that due to excess or obesity being the most frequent. Prevalence of underweight and short stature did not exceed 1%. This data shows that primary prevention measures should be promoted at an early age to reduce malnutrition due to excess or adiposity, in particular.




Pérez-Ríos, M., Santiago-Pérez, M. I., Leis, R., Malvar, A., Suanzes, J., & Hervada, X. (2018). Prevalence of malnutrition in Spanish schoolchildren. Anales de Pediatria, 89(1), 44–49.

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