Anthropometric and Body Composition Characteristics among Preschool Children of Coastal, Himalayan and Desert Ecology in India
Ghosh, Arnab; Kshatriya, Gautam; Kumar,
The present cross-sectional study was aimed to compare anthropometric and body composition characteristics of preschool children in the three contrasting ecological niches namely Coastal, Himalayan and Desert Ecology. A total of 989 randomly selected children (aged < 6 years) in which 306 children (164 boys and 142 girls) belong to coastal ecology, 327 children (177 boys and 150 girls) belong to himalayan ecology and 356 children (168 boys and 188 girls) belong to desert ecology. anthropometric measures namely height, weight, skinfolds at biceps, triceps, subscapular and suprailiac were measured for each child. body mass index (bmi), sum of four skinfolds (sf4), trunk extremity ratio (TER), arm muscle circumference (AMC), arm muscle area (AMA) and arm fat area (AFA) was computed accordingly using standard equations. No significant sex difference was observed for the mean age within and between the groups. There existed significant sex differences for SF4, TER across the ecological zones. One way ANOVA with Scheffe's posthoc test revealed that Group II (Himalayan Ecology) had significantly higher means than both Group I (Coastal Ecology) and Group III (Desert Ecology) for BMI, SF4 and AFA. On the other hand, Group I had significantly higher means than Group II and Group III for TER (girls only), AMC and AMA. Percentiles (10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 95th) were also calculated for anthropometric and body composition variables. It was observed that there existed significant sex differences for anthropometric and body composition variables both within (p < 0.05) and between (p < 0.001) the groups (ecological zones) except for afa (p = 0.07). the 50th percentiles of BMI for Coastal, Himalayan and Desert Ecology were 11.65, 13.00 and 11.85, respectively. The 95th percentile of AFA was 4.81, 8.15 and 6.06 respectively. Significant group differences for variables reiterated the fact that ecology does influence nutrition and body composition measures through underlying physiology of growth.