Journal Article

Use of Volunteer Medical Brigades to Assess Growth in Honduras

Emily Oken, Elena Martinez Stoffel and Linda Jo Stern

in Journal of Tropical Pediatrics

Volume 50, issue 4, pages 203-208
Published in print August 2004 | ISSN: 0142-6338
Published online August 2004 | e-ISSN: 1465-3664 | DOI:
Use of Volunteer Medical Brigades to Assess Growth in Honduras

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We endeavored to determine whether a visiting volunteer medical group could effectively measure growth status among children in a developing country, identify predictors of poor growth, and thus participate in nutritional surveillance. Cross-sectional measurements of growth and diagnosis of current clinical conditions were made. A sample of 3284 Honduran children aged 2–11 years who sought care from volunteer medical brigades between January 2000 and May 2001 were included in the study. Main outcome measures were height-, weight- and body mass index-for-age z scores. Compared with standard reference data, 10 per cent of children were moderately underweight and 3.3 per cent severely underweight, while 13.7 per cent were moderately stunted and 6.4 per cent were severely stunted. After simultaneous adjustment for demographics, clinical conditions, and village characteristics, nutritional complaints were associated with lower body mass index- and weight-for-age, while children seen in villages with clean water and higher levels of development had higher body mass index- and weight-for-age. Older children had poorer growth for all parameters. It was concluded that Honduran children seeking care from a volunteer medical brigade were underweight and stunted compared with a reference population. This study demonstrates that a visiting volunteer group can collect quality growth data that may assist in nutritional surveillance, identify predictors of poor growth, and provide information useful for local public health initiatives.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Paediatrics

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