Document Type : Research Article (s)


1 Aichi University of Education, Japan

2 National Institute of Education, Cambodia

3 Senior High School Affiliated with Aichi University of Education, Japan

4 Nagoya City Simpo Junior High School, Japan


Background: Cambodia, as a developing country, is classified as a poor country; however, in recent years, rapid economic development has been seen in urban areas and the regional differences between the rich and the poor have been increasing. In addition, school meals have been adopted on a trial basis in rural areas, and efforts are being made to support growth and development in childhood. The purpose of this study was to examine whether differences in residential area and school meals availability have an effect on the body size and composition of schoolchildren.
Methods: The subjects were 3,198 schoolchildren (1,638 boys and 1,560 girls) aged 6 to 11 years old and height, weight, and body composition measurements were taken as a cross-sectional study once a year during the period from 2017 to 2020. Differences among age and schools in residential areas were analyzed via two-way ANOVA (P<0.05).
Results: The results of the present work showed that height, weight, and body mass index were clearly higher in urban schools compared to rural schools (P<0.001). In terms of body composition, muscle mass and fat-free mass index (P<0.001) were higher in urban schools than in rural schools and body fat percentage and fat mass index (P<0.001) were 1.5 to 2 times higher in urban schools. On the other hand, in rural areas, fat-free body mass index values were significantly higher in schools with school meal programs (P=0.001).
Conclusion: The results shed light on the need for health education not only in terms of undernutrition, but also in terms of overnutrition in Cambodian children.