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In this study, we examined sex and ethnic disparities in growth and body mass index BMI status among schoolchildren of transnational families, the aborigines and Han Taiwanese in Nantou, Taiwan. We tested the hypothesis that cultural and social factors of the transnational couples could impact the growth status of their children. The study also determined the factors associated with the growth status of schoolchildren.
A total of school age children in the county were cluster sampled, and their weight and height data were statistically analyzed by 1-way analysis of variance, chi 2 test, and linear regression analysis according to sex, ethnicity, and residential locations. Results showed that aboriginal boys were significantly shorter in stature than sons of the transnational couples and Han Taiwanese.
However, weight and BMI were not different among the 3 groups. Daughters of the transnational couples were significantly shorter and lighter, whereas the aboriginal girls were shorter but not lighter and had significantly greater BMI compared with their Han Taiwanese counterparts. Regression analysis revealed significant associations of weight and BMI with sex and ethnicity. Results suggest that culture plays a role in sex disparity.
Ethnic and sex disparities in growth status exist in Taiwan. Aboriginal boys and girls are shorter but not lighter compared with their Han Taiwanese counterparts, whereas daughters but not sons of transnational couples are shorter and lighter compared with Han Taiwanese counterparts.
These findings are useful information for the educators and healthcare policy makers for improving diet and health.