• Growth;
  • anthropometry;
  • children;
  • socio-economic status;
  • Ghana

Aim: To identify socio-economic factors associated with unconstrained growth among children living in well-off neighbourhoods of Accra, Ghana. Methods: A cross-sectional study involving the assessment of the anthropometric status of preschool children. Children (n= 309) between the ages of 12 and 23 mo who live in affluent communities in Accra, Ghana were recruited for the study. Weight, length and mid-upper arm circumference were taken. Information was collected on household demographics and socio-economic status, including parental education and household income. Associations between these variables and attained growth were analysed to establish cutoffs for screening children with unconstrained growth. Results: The mean weight-for-age (WA), length-for-age (LA) and weight-for-length (WL) Z-scores of the sub-sample selected on the basis of high socio-economic criteria were 0.18, 0.40 and 0.16, respectively. Among these well-off children, 0% were underweight, 3.0% were stunted and 0% were wasted (Z-scores >-2). Factors associated with better anthropometric status were paternal education and household income. Two screening criteria combining the two variables were selected: polytechnic education and income < ± l 000000 (US 435) or university education and income < ± 200000.

Conclusions: The children experiencing unconstrained growth belonged to a sub-population of affluent households characterized by high paternal education and household income. This sub-population was targeted for screening for the WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study in Ghana.