DÃez Navarro, Andrea1,2; MarrodÃ¡n Serrano, MarÃa Dolores1,2,3; GÃ³mez de Arriba, Amador4; Rivero del Hoyo, Elena4 Vargas Brizuela, Antonio4; Pacheco del Cerro, JosÃ© Luis1; SÃ¡nchez-Ãlvarez, MarÃa1,2; LÃ³pez Ejeda, NoemÃ1,2; Moreno Romero, Susana1; Prado MartÃnez, Consuelo5; CabaÃ±as Armesilla, MarÃa Dolores1;
MartÃnez Alvarez, JesÃºs-RomÃ¡n1,6
Introduction: Previous evidences reported sex differences in nutritional status between boys and girls of the same community, living under identical conditions of food deprivation. The aim of the present study is to analyze the sexual differences in the prevalence of severe malnutrition in children under 5 years of age, who were subjected to food crisis.
Methods: Data from humanitarian aid interventions carried out by Action Against Hunger between 2002 and 2010 in 24 countries were analyzed. These surveys were carried out in populations in Africa, Latin America and Asia that were in a serious food crisis. The sample consists of a total of 367,258 children (186,156 boys and 181,102 girls) aged (A) 6 to 59 months. Weight (W) and height (H) were measured according to SMART methodology. Prevalence of severe underweight (W/A <-3SD), wasting (W/H <-3SD) and stunting (H/A <-3SD) were calculated based on WHO Standards.
Results: On the whole sample, the proportion of boys with severe underweigh was 9.8% compared to 7.3% for girls (p <0.001). Severe wasting affected 3.9% of boys versus 2.5% of girls (p <0.001). Differences were also notable in chronic malnutrition: 19.5% of boys and 15% of girls (p <0.001) suffered stunting.
Conclusion: The results support the idea of so-called female eco-stability, according to which females would be less sensitive to external factors that modulate ontogenetic development, while males would be most negatively affected by environmental aggression