Dahel-Mekhancha, Corinne Colette
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Growth charts are graphical illustrations of body measurements represented by age and sex. There has been, until now, no Algerian references to evaluate growth. The aim of this study was to develop reference growth centiles (weight, height, Body Mass Index) for Algerian children and adolescents (6– 18 years of age) schooled in Constantine according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Ours secondary objectives were to comparing growth and corpulence of our sample with those of other Algerians and foreigners; examining the height secular evolution; and evaluating the prevalence of stunting, thinness, overweight and obesity according to national and international references. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 23 public schools on 7772 healthy school children (54.9% girls) in the city of Constantine (2008/2009). The anthropometric measures were weight, height and birth date. The Lambda-Mu-Sigma (LMS) method was used for curve smoothing. Our data were presented with local data from Arab and European countries, international references from WHO (2007) and the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF 2000; 2007). The results showed that between 11 and 13 years (puberty), girls were taller and heavier than boys. For girls, the median height and weight increased until 16 and 17 years, respectively; whereas in boys, they still showed increase with age. BMI Median values for both sexes increased with age. Girls had lower BMI values than boys before the age of 10 years but they were higher until 18 years of age. Weight and height median curves of our study were intermediate in comparison to those observed in other Arab countries, while those of BMI were generally less. They were higher than French reference values until 13 years. Median curves of weight, height and BMI of our study were generally lower than those of WHO reference at all ages. The prevalence of overweight (including obesity) and obesity in girls and boys was 13.7% and 3.0%, respectively according to IOTF (2000) standards, and 16.9% and 4.9% according to WHO (2007). According to IOTF, girls were more affected by excess malnutrition. The prevalence of stunting and thinness according to WHO (2007) was 2.8% and 3.3%, respectively. Curves which we developed according to international guidelines could serve as a national reference for monitoring growth and development in Algerian children and adolescents. They could be used as a complement to the 0 to 5year-old WHO 2006 standards.