R. Tonglet et al., How useful are anthropometric, clinical and dietary measurements of nutritional status as predictors of morbidity of young children in central Africa?, TR MED I H, 4(2), 1999, pp. 120-130
OBJECTIVE TO identify useful predictors of morbidity of young children in c
METHOD Population-based follow-up study in Northern Kivu, Congo, of 842 chi
ldren under two years of age who completed weekly follow-up interviews and
health examinations during three months. Main outcome measures were crude a
nd adjusted effects of summary measures of nutritional status on one-month
cumulative incidence of malaria, respiratory illness, and diarrhoea.
RESULTS Anthropometric indicators appeared to perform badly in predicting m
orbidity. In contrast, non-anthropometric variables such as growth as judge
d by the caretaker, child's diet at the time of examination, and occurrence
of disease in the month preceding the interval of observation were useful.
CONCLUSIONS In the context of the 'Sick Child Initiative', simple tests and
diagnostic tools to improve quality of both prevention and cure in first-l
evel facilities need to be identified. Focusing on non-anthropometric indic
ators should be encouraged to offer a comprehensive appraisal of health sta
tus to all children.