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Using weight-for-age for predicting wasted children

Nguefack-Tsague, Georges and Tanya K. N., Agatha (2011): Using weight-for-age for predicting wasted children.

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Abstract

Background: The equipments for taking body weights (scales) are more frequent in Cameroon health centres than measuring boards for heights. Even when the later exist there are some difficulties inherent in their qualities; thus the height measurement is not always available or accurate. Objective: To construct statistical models for predicting wasting from weight-for-age. Methods: 3742 children a ged 0 to 59 months were enrolled in a cross-sectional household survey (2004 Cameroon Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS)) covering the entire Cameroon national territory. Results: There were highly significant association between underweight and wasting. For all discriminant statistical methods used, the test error rates (using an independent testing sample) are less than 5%; the Area Under the Curve (AUC) using the Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) is 0.86. Conclusions: Weight-for-age can be used for accurately classifying a child whose wasting status is unknown. The result is useful in Cameroon as too often the height measurements may not be feasible, thus the need for estimating wasted children.

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