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Food habits and nutritional status of East Indian Hindu children in British Columbia Pi, Clara Ming Lee


A cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the nutritional stutus of a sample of East Indian children in the Vancouver area. The study sample consisted of 132 children from 3 months to 18 years of age, whose parents belonged to the congregation of the Vishwa Hindu Parished Temple in Burnaby, B.C. In the dietary assessment of nutritional status, a 24-hour diet recall and a food habits questionnaire were employed on the 132 children. The Canadian Dietary Standard (revised 1975) and Nutrition Canada categories were used for an evaluation of their dietary intake. In the anthropometric assessment of their nutritional status, the standing height, weight, arm circumference, triceps skinfold, and head circumference of 127 children were measured according to the recommendation of. the International Biological Program (Weiner and Lourie, 1969). Individual findings were plotted as scatter diagrams against both East India and American standard reference curves. Methods used in the biochemical assessment of nutritional status were mostly those described in the Interdepartmental Committee on Nutrition for National Defence (ICNND) Manual for Nutrition Surveys (1963). Hemoglobin, hematocrit, plasma levels of vitamin C, vitamin A, carotene, vitamin E, iron and iron binding capacity were determined in the blood of 51 children. Results were evaluated according to the categories defined by Nutrition Canada (1973). Anthropometric results indicated satisfactory growth, with the male subjects performing better than the female subjects. Both the dietary and biochemical results did not indicate gross deficiencies. However, intakes of certain nutrients such as the B vitamins, iron and calcium were low. Recommendations were made to the parents on how to improve nutrient intake for such children.

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