Growth Pattern of Primary School Children in Benghazi, Libya

Marwan M. Al-Sharbati, Ameer A Younan, Omar H Sudani


Objective: To fi nd the growth trends in a sample of schoolchildren in Benghazi (Libya), and to compare it with international and other local growth charts, as a step for setting the national curves. Method: From 25th February to 31st October 1993, a sample of 2,022 pupils (1,160 boys and 862 girls) were randomly selected from three public primary schools in three different socio-economic areas in Benghazi. A questionnaire consisting of social and scholastic items was distributed to teachers a few days before the examination. The height and weight of all the pupils were measured according to the standards of Jellife, Gorstein, WHO, and de Onis. Data were analyzed and compared with both the reference standard of the United States National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS-USA), and the local standards of Tripoli-1986. Results: The boys and girls in the lowest age-group had a pattern similar to that of the reference population for both height/age and weight/age, but it dropped sharply from mid-school years. The Benghazi curves were consistently higher than those of Tripoli, particularly for height/age. Conclusion: The nutritional status of these children, which was good before the beginning of schooling, was negatively affected during the school years. This could be attributed either to births in the family and consequent neglect, or to the school’s negative effects on the child, such as lack of appetite created by anxiety or other factors. Further studies from dif ferent regions of the country are needed to set national growth curves. 


Anthtropometric measurements, child, growth, nutrition, Benghazi, Libya, NCHS-USA

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

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