Document Type : Research Article (s)
1 Graduate School of Education, Aichi University of Education, Japan
2 Department of Health and Physical Education, Aichi University of Education, Japan
3 Department of School Health Sciences, Aichi University of Education, Japan
4 Department of School Health Education, Senior High School Affiliated to Aichi University of Education, Japan
5 Principal of Nagoya Primary School, Aichi University of Education, Japan
Background: Following up children’s health at schools is crucial to ensuring their health and nutrition supply. Cambodia does not have a system for assessing the children’s growth. In this regard, WHO child growth reference might be used to assess child growth in this country. The present study aimed to compare Cambodian primary schoolchildren’s growth in three categories and assess their growth status by reference to the South-East Asian Nutrition Survey (SEANUTS) and WHO references.
Methods: This is a case study of primary school children’s growth in Cambodia. Aichi University of Education in Japan conducted physical measurement in some primary schools in Cambodia in three categories: an urban school, a rural school with “school meals”, and a rural school without “school meals”. A total sample size of 9 487 primary schoolchildren was measured from 2015 to 2020. The data were analyzed by a computed formulation of LMS and SPSS statistics version 20.
Results: Cambodian primary schoolchildren in the urban school were taller and heavier than those in the rural school with “school meals” and the rural school without “school meals”. The children in the rural school without “school meals” were the shortest and the lightest. The physical growth of the “schoolchildren” in Cambodia was similar to those of the pooled SEANUTS, but far below the WHO references.
Conclusion: School meals have a positive influence on children’s growth. SEANUTS growth reference might be fitted to assess child growth in Cambodia, but the WHO reference is not fitted. National child growth curve and reference should be devised to accurately assess children’s growth in Cambodia.