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Growth of British Columbian native Indian children as assessed from anthropometric measurements Rabeneck, Sonya


A cross-sectional growth study was designed to obtain information on the growth patterns of British Columbian Native Indian children. The object of the study was to establish whether growth patterns of B.C. Native Indian children living in student residences correspond to those of non-Indian reference children. The study sample consisted of all children 6 to 17 years attending the six student residences administered by the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. The total sample size was 734 children, representing 77 reserves in the province. Standing height, sitting height, weight, arm circumference, four skinfold thicknesses (triceps, subscapular, biceps and suprailiac), and head circumference were measured according to the recommendations of the International Biological Program (Weiner and Lourie, 1969). Arm muscle diameter, circumference and area were derived according to the method of Frisancho (1974). Individual findings were plotted, as scatter diagrams against standard reference curves, data for which was obtained from Caucasian children. Results indicate a considerable growth deficit in standing and sitting height in younger children which appears to be somewhat corrected by adolescence. Weight measurements, although falling predominantly below the Iowa mean, generally reflect adequate gain with age. Arm measurements indicate well maintained musculature throughout the age-range studied, with relatively low degrees of triceps adipose tissue. Head circumference displays an initial deficit in younger children which is largely corrected by adolescence. It was concluded that protein nutritional status of B.C. Native Indian children living in student residences may be relatively better than calorie nutritional status.

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