Current Content
Volume 40 - Number 6
November/December 2014

Examining Nutrition among a Sample of 3- to 5-Year-Old Children Living In Rural Jamaica
Allison Cory, Kathryn Boyle, Natalie McClain, and Melissa A. Sutherland

Background: The period of early childhood, defined as three to five years of age, is an important and distinct stage in childhood development. Changes in dietary patterns and composition of diets are exposing children in developing countries to over-nutrition as well as under-nutrition.

Objective: To describe the nutritional status, dietary patterns, and socioeconomic conditions of three to five-year-old children living in rural Jamaica. Sample: A convenience sample of 142 children was recruited over a three-year period.

Measurements: Height and weight measurements were collected. Household dietary patterns and socio-economic indicators were available from a small group (n = 6) of parents.

Results: Children experiencing both under-nutrition and over-nutrition were identified. Nine percent (n = 13) could be classified as moderately to severely under-nourished, and 6.9% (n = 10) classified as overweight. Frying was a common cooking method, and fruits and vegetables were eaten often.

Conclusions: Economic and political changes may place children in developing countries at risk for over-nutrition as well as under-nutrition. The school setting may be an important place to address nutritional issues. This analysis describes the nutritional status of a sample of three to five-year-old children living in rural Jamaica and provides suggestions for future research.