Abstract

This study was intended to show whether there is a difference in the distribution of the anthropometric status of school age children according to the geographic unit.  The analyzed population was 1870 children from 2 public schools, of first, third and sixth grades, from the district of San Juan, La Unión canton (Costa Rica). The used data was previously collected through the National Health and Nutrition Program from 2005-2009. The anthropometric status was evaluated according to the World Health Organization (OMS for its acronym in spanish) criteria, 2007. The prevalence of excess weight, from 2005 to 2009, was 31.2%, which is higher than the national data reported (21, 4%) for the National Nutrition Survey of Costa Rica 2008-2009. Differences between schools for the prevalence of excess weight were identified; being greater in School 1 (35, 6%) than in School 2 (29, 7%). The low weight was 2, 9%, which is lower than the national data (6, 1%). More than 90% of the children had normal height in all the analyzed years. The social-demographic profile, the schooling and the occupation of the person in charge of the child were different between schools, this could be due to the geographic barriers between communities and the development status of adjacent districts, situations that may influence the nutritional status. Therefore, the study showed that anthropometric status distributions of the analyzed population may be related to the geographic location.
Keywords: Geographic analysis, anthropometry, socio economic conditions, nutritional status, school-age population, Costa Rica