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Revista Española de Nutrición Humana y Dietética

On-line version ISSN 2174-5145Print version ISSN 2173-1292


BERNAL, Jennifer; AGUDELO MARTINEZ, Alejandra  and  ROLDAN JARAMILLO, Piedad. Geographical representation of malnutrition in children and adolescents from Medellin, Colombia. Rev Esp Nutr Hum Diet [online]. 2020, vol.24, n.2, pp.111-119.  Epub Jan 11, 2021. ISSN 2174-5145.


Describe malnutrition due to deficiency and excess in children and adolescents aged 0 to 17 years, based on geographical spatial representation (GL) in Medellin, Colombia.

Material and Methods:

Cross-sectional population study and multistage random sample design (n=6,075), representative of the children living in the 16 urban communities and 5 rural areas of Medellin. Demographic, social, educational, health, nutrition and physical activity variables were included. Weight and height were the basis to construct indicators of Weight-for-height (WH), Height-for-age (HA), Weight-for-age (WA) and Body Mass Index-for-age (BMI-for-age) in <5 years and HA and BMI-for-age in >5 years-old. With Anthro and Anthro Plus, Z scores of anthropometric measures were obtained; descriptive analyzes were performed with SPSS v.21, and the geographical representations of malnutrition were conducted with Argis 10.0. The CES University ethics committee approved the study.


In children <5 years (n=1,598) the prevalence of acute malnutrition (low-WH) is 0.9%; short stature or stunting (low-HA) 6.4%; malnutrition (low-WA) 1.3%; risk of overweight 20.8%; overweight 5.2% and obesity (BMI-age) 0.9%. One out of 4 children (25%) do physical activity (11 min/day). In the 5-17 years children and adolescents (n=4,477), 3.9% had stunting, 21% overweight and 8.9% are obese. More than half (50.9%) do physical activity (21 min/day). As GL showed, overweight and obesity are higher in 10 urban areas of Medellín.


The GL allows identifying the more affected populations. The GL shows that the coexistence of malnutrition due to deficiency and excess varies according to the geographic area studied. Institutions must consider the double burden of malnutrition: a social complex problem, which Medellin and the entire world suffer.

Keywords : Malnutrition; Overnutrition; Obesity; Nutritional Status; Child; Adolescent; Colombia.

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