Know Your Child’s Nutritional Status and How to Calculate It

KUPASONLINE.COM — Parents must know the nutritional status of their children. Nutritional status plays an important role in knowing the growth and development of the baby’s health.

The nutritional status of children is very important for parents to know and observe. From nutritional status, parents can find out how well their baby is growing and developing.

If the nutritional status is not good, the child may experience nutritional disorders or developmental problems. Find out how to measure and read the following results of a child’s nutritional status.

Calculation of Children’s Nutritional Status is Different from Adults

Adults over the age of 18 measure a healthy ideal weight or body mass index (BMI) based on their weight in kilograms and height in meters squared.

These measurements cannot be applied to children. The reason is, the growth process of children is different from adults.

Children under the age of 18 or ages 0-18 continue to experience physical growth and development. For example, when children reach the age of 6 to 9 years, they begin to experience quite rapid physical development.

Children will experience changes in weight, height, and other body sizes as a whole.

Because it continues to experience development, the way to calculate the nutritional status of children is also different from that of adults. Measuring the nutritional status of children by means of body mass index is considered inaccurate.

Indicators for assessing the nutritional status of children

Based on the guidelines from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia in 2017, there are several indicators that are used as a reference for calculating the nutritional status of children. The indicators are as follows:

1. Weight

To measure a child’s nutritional status, doctors can use weight as an indicator. Children’s weight can be used as a measure of the adequacy of micro and macro nutrients.

Unlike height, a child’s weight is more variable. Therefore, if a child experiences a change in weight, this could be a sign of a change in the baby’s nutritional status.

2. Height and Body Length

The next indicator of nutritional status is measuring the child’s height or length. In infants aged 0 to 2 years, nutritional status is measured by body length. While children over 2 years will be measured based on height.

Body height or length is an indicator because the fulfillment of adequate nutrition will support bone growth and increase the child’s height.

If a child experiences slow growth in height or body length, this can be a sign that your child is experiencing nutritional problems.

3. Gender

Growth and development of boys and girls have differences. Usually, girls grow faster than boys in the same age range.

Therefore, gender is an indicator to measure the nutritional status of children.

4. Age

Another important factor in measuring a child’s nutritional status is age. Age can be a benchmark whether your child has adequate nutrition or not. This can later be compared with other children his age.

Every child’s development is different. If a child has growth that is very different from other children his age, this can be a sign that the child has a problem with malnutrition.

5. Head Circumference

Head circumference can be a measure of neurodevelopment and brain growth in children.

Measuring a baby’s head circumference needs to be done until he is 2 years old. Head circumference measurements can be done by a pediatrician or midwife using a special measuring tape.

The doctor will record the size of the baby’s head circumference at each examination. The baby’s head circumference will be grouped into normal size, too small head circumference (microcephalus), or too large head circumference (macrocephalus).

Microcephaly or macrocephaly can be a sign of a child having problems with brain development and may be related to malnutrition.

In addition, the problem of malnutrition can be identified through the child’s health condition. There are several signs of malnutrition, including your little one getting sick easily, experiencing delays in speaking, hyperactivity, and problems with cavities in children.

Lack of nutritional intake can also result in the growth of a child’s hair and skin which becomes drier. To find out more clearly about the symptoms of malnutrition in children, read the complete information here.

How to Calculate Children’s Nutritional Status

Three indicators of children’s nutritional status, namely weight, height, and age are interconnected and included in the Child Growth Chart (GPA) according to sex.

The use of GPA makes it easier for doctors and parents to monitor a child’s growth. When using the GPA, the following categories can be used:

Calculating the Nutritional Status of Children Aged 0-5 Years

To measure the nutritional status of children under five years of age, you can use the chart set by WHO.

The 2006 WHO guidelines published the use of chart status

s nutrition of children and by sex. Here’s how to calculate it:

Weight Based on Age (BB/U)
Weight-based age assessment is used to find out whether a child is normal, underweight, very underweight, or overweight.

Children’s nutritional status based on weight/age:

Normal child weight = -2 SD to +1 SD
Underweight children = -3 SD up
Child’s weight is very less =
The risk of overweight = >+1 SD
Height Based on Age (TB/U)
Height-based age indicators are used for children aged 2 to 18 years. This indicator can identify the cause of a child’s slow or short growth in height.

The child’s height is measured in an upright standing position. If it is done in a lying position, usually for measuring children aged 0-60 months, the child’s height must be reduced by 0.7 cm.

Children’s nutritional status based on height/age, namely:

Child’s body height = >+3 SD
Normal child height = -2 SD to +3 SD
Short (stunting) = -3 SD up to
Very short (severe stunting) =
Other Articles: What is the Ideal Weight for a 3 Year Old Child?

Weight Based on Height (BB/TB)
Children’s nutritional status based on weight/height, namely:

Malnutrition (severely wasted) =
Malnutrition (wasted) = -3 SD to
Good nutrition (normal) = -2 SD to +1 SD
Risk of over nutrition = >+1 SD to +2 SD
Over nutrition (overweight) = >+2 SD to +3 SD
Obesity = >+3 SD
Nutritional Status Based on Baby’s Head Circumference
Based on WHO, the following nutritional status is calculated from the baby’s head circumference:

Head circumference is too small (microcephalus) = percentile < 2
Normal head circumference size = percentile ≥ 2 to < 98
Too large head circumference (macrocephaly) = ≥ 98
In newborn boys, normal head size is 36 cm and increases to 41 cm at 3 months of age.

Meanwhile for baby girls, the normal size of their head circumference is 35 cm and will increase to 40 cm at the age of 3 months.

The ideal addition for a baby’s head circumference aged 4 to 6 months is 1 cm. Then when the baby is 6 to 12 months old, the increase in head circumference will decrease to 0.5 cm per month.

Other Articles: Getting to Know Wasting and Its Bad Impact on Children’s Development

Calculating the Nutritional Status of Children Aged 5 to 18 Years

The nutritional status of children over 5 years is measured using rules issued by the Central Disease Control (CDC) in 2000 and Permenkes Number 2 of 2020.

The nutritional status of children aged 5-18 years is measured using BMI (Body Mass Index). Because children over the age of 5 years will experience different growth even though their age range is the same.

Therefore, the child’s height and weight ratio will be calculated based on their age. The BMI assessment categories for children over the age of 5 are:

Thinnes or malnutrition = -3 SD to
Normal or good nutrition = -2 SD to +1 SD
Overweight or more nutrition = +1 SD to +2 SD
Obesity = >+2 SD
Measuring GPA for children under 5 years of age is much more difficult than measuring body mass index.

Therefore, children under 5 years of age can measure nutritional status at the hospital or posyandu so that the results are accurate

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