• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of bullwhoWHO Home PageBulletin Home PageBulletin Home PageAbout Bulletine-mail AlertSubmissions
Bull World Health Organ. 1995; 73(4): 443–448.
PMCID: PMC2486780

The effects of malnutrition on child mortality in developing countries.

Abstract

Conventional methods of classifying causes of death suggest that about 70% of the deaths of children (aged 0-4 years) worldwide are due to diarrhoeal illness, acute respiratory infection, malaria, and immunizable diseases. The role of malnutrition in child mortality is not revealed by these conventional methods, despite the long-standing recognition of the synergism between malnutrition and infectious diseases. This paper describes a recently-developed epidemiological method to estimate the percentage of child deaths (aged 6-59 months) which could be attributed to the potentiating effects of malnutrition in infectious disease. The results from 53 developing countries with nationally representative data on child weight-for-age indicate that 56% of child deaths were attributable to malnutrition's potentiating effects, and 83% of these were attributable to mild-to-moderate as opposed to severe malnutrition. For individual countries, malnutrition's total potentiating effects on mortality ranged from 13% to 66%, with at least three-quarters of this arising from mild-to-moderate malnutrition in each case. These results show that malnutrition has a far more powerful impact on child mortality than is generally appreciated, and suggest that strategies involving only the screening and treatment of the severely malnourished will do little to address this impact. The methodology provided in this paper makes it possible to estimate the effects of malnutrition on child mortality in any population for which prevalence data exist.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.0M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Pelletier DL, Frongillo EA, Jr, Habicht JP. Epidemiologic evidence for a potentiating effect of malnutrition on child mortality. Am J Public Health. 1993 Aug;83(8):1130–1133. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Chen LC, Chowdhury A, Huffman SL. Anthropometric assessment of energy-protein malnutrition and subsequent risk of mortality among preschool aged children. Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 Aug;33(8):1836–1845. [PubMed]
  • Van Den Broeck J, Eeckels R, Vuylsteke J. Influence of nutritional status on child mortality in rural Zaire. Lancet. 1993 Jun 12;341(8859):1491–1495. [PubMed]
  • Schroeder DG, Brown KH. Nutritional status as a predictor of child survival: summarizing the association and quantifying its global impact. Bull World Health Organ. 1994;72(4):569–579. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Walsh JA, Warren KS. Selective primary health care: an interim strategy for disease control in developing countries. N Engl J Med. 1979 Nov 1;301(18):967–974. [PubMed]

Articles from Bulletin of the World Health Organization are provided here courtesy of World Health Organization

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • MedGen
    MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...