Dietary risk factors of physical growth of Filipino school-aged children
Background: Adequate nutrition during childhood is essential to promote child growth and development.
Objective: The study evaluated the relationship of habitual nutrient intake and protein adequacy to the prevalence of child malnutrition.
Methods: Data were derived from a nationally representative sample of children aged 6–12 years. Two nonconsecutive day 24-h dietary recalls (24hR) were collected to estimate the individual food intake. PC-SIDE version 1.0 software (Software for Intake Distribution Estimation) was used to estimate the habitual intake of key nutrients accounting for between- and within-person differences in dietary intake. The 2007 WHO Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) method was used to measure the protein quality or the utilizable protein intake. The nutritional status of the participants is reflected in the weight-for-age, height-for-age, and body mass index (BMI)-for-age z-scores using the WHO Growth Reference Standard (WHO, 2007).
Results: Undernourished school-aged children were found to have high protein inadequacy. Higher consumption of grains and cereal products, meat, and high-quality protein foods was associated with a lower risk of stunting. Higher intake of milk and milk products, grains and cereal products, high-quality protein foods, calcium, riboflavin, and vitamin C was associated with a lower risk of underweight. Higher consumption of grains and cereal products, riboflavin, thiamine, and fiber was associated with a lower risk of wasting. On the contrary, higher consumption of meat, milk and milk products, grains and cereal products, high-quality protein foods, and vitamin C was associated with a higher risk of obesity. Furthermore, linear growth of children was found to be associated with high-quality protein foods, calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and vitamin D.
Conclusions: Malnutrition among Filipino children is influenced by nutrient intakes. However, the existence of malnutrition among children may be specifically attributed to the quality of protein consumed. Therefore, the study suggests that nutrition interventions and policies focusing on child malnutrition should improve not just the quantity but also the quality of protein sources consumed by children to aid in proper growth and development.
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