Weight is a sensitive index for the evaluation of nutritional status of preschool children, particularly where their precise ages are known. Regrettably in Sierra Leone there are no known local standards of weight of preschool children and their ages are most times difficult to obtain. Thus weight alone cannot be the most suitable index in the evaluation of the nutritional status of preschool children in Sierra Leone. Thus the current study was undertaken to determine the relative merits of anthropometric measurements commonly used in nutrition survey for the evaluation of the nutritional status of preschool children in the clay factory displaced camp. Three hundred and six (306) children of both sexes aged 1-5 years were classified into three groups: Normal, protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) and vitamin deficiency (VD). The relative importance of the various anthropometric measurements was assessed in these three categories of children through comparison of their mean values and correlation coefficients. A close relationship was observed between the severity of PEM on the one hand and weight, weight-height ratio and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) on the other. The indices weight and weight-height ratio were found to be very sensitive in the assessment of nutritional status of the children. Moreover, these indices showed a close association with other measurements. It was concluded that the weight-height ratio which is independent of age, is the most suitable index for the detection of early cases of PEM in our environment. Keywords: Nutritional status, Protein-Energy malnutrition, Vitamin deficiency, Preschool children, Weight-Height Ratio and Mid-upper arm circumference.

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