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Am J Hum Biol. 2010 Jan-Feb;22(1):111-23. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.20960.

Longitudinal weight gain of immunized infants and toddlers in Moroto District, Uganda (Karamoja subregion).

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  • 1Department of Anthropology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, 66045, USA. sjgray@ku.edu


This study examines longitudinal weight gain of a sample of 123 immunized children from Moroto District, northeast Uganda. The weight data were combined from two sources: (1) anthropometric examinations carried out between 1998 and 2004 by a research team from the University of Kansas, and (2) weights recorded on children's immunization records by local health care practitioners. Our findings conform generally to the pattern described in previous studies in this as well as other pastoralist populations in sub-Sahara. Relative to international standards, the weight-for-age status of Karimojong children was best during the first 3 months of infancy. Noticeable declines in weight velocity occurred in the fourth month and after the sixth month. Weight gain was static after the second year, when upward of 40% of children were clinically underweight. Factors influencing weight gain in this sample include immunization status and maternal height, weight, and parity, but these effects explain relatively little of the variance in weight gain. We conclude that immunization is not sufficient to buffer Karimojong children from multiple stressors during teething and weaning. Of these, the practice of canine follicle extraction (CFE) is of most interest, although its effects in this study are ambiguous. The data also are suggestive of variability in the pattern of weight gain between closely spaced birth cohorts. This finding may be of particular importance for the interpretation of growth patterns described for other pastoralist populations in sub-Saharan Africa.

2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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