a1 Research Group on Community Nutrition and Oxidative Stress, Research Institute of Health Sciences, University of the Balearic Islands, Guillem Colom Bldg, Campus, E-07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain
a2 Research Center of Food Technology, Faculty of Engineering, National University of Jujuy, 4600 San Salvador de Jujuy, Argentina
Objective To assess the nutritional status of the Andean population of Puna and Quebrada of Humahuaca, Jujuy, using anthropometric measurements.
Design and subjects A cross-sectional nutritional survey was carried out in a representative sample (n = 1236) of individuals from these regions. Children aged 2–9 years, adolescents (10–17 years) and adults (≥18 years; pregnant and lactating women excluded) were considered. Height-for-age, weight-for-height and body mass index (BMI) were calculated in children and adolescents and compared with World Health Organization/National Center for Health Statistics/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reference standards using Z-scores or percentiles, in order to assess the prevalence of stunting, wasting/thinness and excess weight. In adults, BMI, waist circumference (WC) and waist-to-hip (WHR) ratio were used to identify obesity and central adiposity.
Results Stunting (height-for-age Z-score <–2 standard deviations) and obesity (BMI ≥ 95th percentile) were found to be major nutritional problems in children and adolescents. Stunting was prevalent in 10.7% of children and 12.4% of adolescents; 8.2% of children and 3.5% of adolescents were obese. Adults were short (mean: 155.8 cm) and values of overweight (32.3%), obesity (18.3%) and central adiposity (mean WC: 86.5 cm) were high. Older adults and those with higher economic development showed higher prevalence of obesity and central adiposity.
Conclusions The present population may be at the early stages of nutritional transition as symptoms of undernutrition and overnutrition coexist at the population level. These results suggest that rates of growth retardation may be decreasing owing to improved nutritional conditions; however, this could be accompanied by a sharp increase in the prevalence of other diet-related chronic diseases.
(Received November 16 2006)
(Accepted July 12 2007)