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The relationship between anthropometric indicators of nutritional status and malaria infection among youths in Khammouane Province, Lao PDR.

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  • 1Department of School Health, School of Health Sciences, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Okinawa, Japan.


We assessed anthropometric indicators of the nutritional status among children and adolescents in Khammouane Province in the Lao PDR and examined the relation between malnutrition and malaria infection. The survey was conducted from July to August 1999 using a sample of 309 youths aged 2 to 18 years. Malnutrition was categorized as stunting (below -2 Z scores height-for-age) and wasting (below -2 Z scores weight-for-height). The prevalence of stunting and wasting were 45.1% and 9.2%, respectively, which were classified by WHO as "very high" prevalence. Compared with the results of previous national surveys in Lao PDR, similar prevalence was shown. The prevalence of wasting in youths with P. falciparum infection was 17%, significantly higher than those of not infected (4%). On the other hand, P. vivax infection was not associated with any indicators of malnutrition. In conclusion, this study showed that the nutritional status in youths was poor and P. falciparum infection was associated with acute malnutrition.

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