The relationship between stunting and overweight among children from South Africa : secondary analysis of the National Food Consumption Survey – Fortification Baseline I
CITATION: Symington, E. A., Gericke, G. J., Nel, J. H. & Labadarios, D. 2016. The relationship between stunting and overweight among children from South Africa: secondary analysis of the National Food Consumption Survey – Fortification Baseline I. South African Medical Journal, 106(1):65-69, doi:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i1.9839.
The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za
ENGLISH SUMMARY : Background: Globally, in children the prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing, and this is associated with an increased risk of noncommunicable diseases in adulthood. There is a need to examine the growing trends of overweight and obesity in children and their consequences in low and middleincome countries. Objectives: To describe the prevalence of, and determine the relationship between, stunting and overweight among children in two provinces of South Africa. Methods: Secondary data analysis was conducted on anthropometric measurements of 36 119monthold children from Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces (N=519) participating in the South African National Food Consumption Survey – Fortification Baseline I (2005). The International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) body mass index (BMI) reference percentiles were used to determine overweight and obesity. The World Health Organization standards were used to derive zscores. Results: The prevalence of overweight was 12.0% (IOTF BMI ≥25 kg/m2), including 3.7% obesity (IOTF BMI ≥30 kg/m2). The predominantly urban Gauteng Province had a significantly higher prevalence of overweight children (14.1%) compared with Mpumalanga (6.3%) (p=0.0277). The prevalence of stunting was 17.0% (16.5% Gauteng, 18.2% Mpumalanga; p>0.05). There was a significant correlation (r=−0.32) between BMI and heightforage zscores (p<0.0001). In the obese group, 68.4% were stunted, while in the normal and underweight group only 13.6% were stunted. Conclusions: Stunted children were more likely to be obese. Further research is necessary for clarity on the physiological mechanisms of this relationship. In the interim, prevention of stunting requires priority.