Malnutrition in children, including stunting, is often associated with anthropometric measurements. Then, why is anthropometry used as an indicator of nutritional status? Because, anthropometry is referred to as a nutritional indicator because it can measure growth and development in children physically by using the variables age, weight and height.
Definition of Nutritional Status, Growth and Development in Children
Before finding answers to why anthropometry is used as an indicator of nutritional status, it is necessary to first understand the meaning of growth and development. The process of growth and development is a continuous and patterned process. Both start from the conception stage to adulthood.
Growth is any change in the body that is associated with increasing body sizes physically and structurally. Meanwhile, development is an increase in ability in the structure and function of a child’s body which is more complex. Therefore, there will be differentiation of body tissue cells to reach the optimal point.
Nutritional status itself can be interpreted as a physical sign caused by a balance between nutritional intake and expenditure through certain variables, namely nutritional status indicators.
In a sense, the two are related to each other even though they have different definitions. However, both growth and development can be measured by indicators, namely Anthropometry with certain variables, let’s see for more info!
Anthropometry as an Indicator of Nutritional Status
Why is Anthropometry used as an indicator of nutritional status? This question may often cross your mind. Sounds foreign, in fact anthropometry is very close to you and your toddler. If you take measurements of body weight, body length or height and upper arm and head circumference (LiLA), it means you are familiar with anthropometry.
Basically, Anthropometry is a science about the dimensions of the human body. This knowledge is widely used in various other sciences related to humans, such as industrial engineering, architecture, interior design and product design. Within these various disciplines, Anthropometry has the role of providing standardization of measurements of the human body for its use in each scientific field. Specifically in the health sector, Anthropometry is referred to as an indicator of nutritional status.
Then, why is Anthropometry referred as an indicator of nutritional status?
As previously mentioned, anthropometry is referred to as a nutritional indicator because it can measure physical growth and development in children by using the variables age, weight and height. To determine a child’s nutritional status, age is also an important factor, an error in determination will lead to an incorrect interpretation of nutritional status. Accurate weight and height results are meaningless if they are not accompanied by an accurate age determination.
Body weight is one measure that provides an overview of tissue mass, including body fluids. Body weight is very sensitive to changes either due to infection or decreased food consumption. Meanwhile, height is a good indicator to see the state of nutrition in the past, especially related to malnutrition in the first 1000 days of life.\
How to Measure Anthropometry as a Nutritional Indicator?
1. Based on Weight Indicators
Body weight or body mass is the most sensitive indicator of sudden changes, such as decreased appetite or infection of a disease. Body weight is the most stable anthropometric indicator to determine whether a child is malnourished. Given these weight characteristics, the Body Weight Index is only used to describe a person’s current nutritional status. Weight indicators can be classified as follows:
- Malnutrition : Z-Score ≥ -3.0 to Z-score < -2.0
- Good nutrition : Z-score ≥ -2.0 to Z-score ≤ 2.0
- Overnutrition : Z-score > 2.0
In measuring body weight, it is important to choose an accurate baby scale or digital scale. Digital baby scales that have an accuracy of up to 5 grams can detect small changes so that if there is weight loss in successive periods, intervention can be immediately carried out.
2. Based on Height Indicator
Height can describe the growth process that takes place over a long period of time. That is, if the child’s height does not meet the standards, it means that there is no maximum absorption of nutrients since he was in the womb. So that the indicator of stunting in children is not only due to inappropriate body weight, but also height which is affected by nutrients absorbed over a long period of time.
The tool for measuring body length in infants is the Infantometer Board, while the tool for measuring height for children over 2 years is the Portable Stadiometer. Both are standard measuring instruments that have been set by the Ministry of Health as stunting detection measuring tools.
Get the Anthropometry Kit, tool to measure children’s nutritional status
Anthropometry Kit is the designation for a series of tools to measure nutritional status in children. This series of tools consists of Infantometer Board, Portable Stadiometer, Digital Baby Scales, Digital Stepping Scales and LiLA Measuring Tape. The Anthropometry Kit complies with Ministry of Health standards and has been distributed to more than 200 Health Services and Hospitals throughout Indonesia.