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Ann Trop Paediatr. 2001 Sep;21(3):203-10.

Growth in early childhood in a cohort of children born to HIV-1-infected women from Durban, South Africa.

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Department of Paediatrics, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of Natal, Private Bag 7, Congella 4013, South Africa.


This study describes growth in a cohort of black South African children born to HIV-1-infected women in Durban. Children born to HIV-1-seropositive women were followed up from birth to early childhood. At birth and at each visit, growth parameters were measured. Mean Z-scores were calculated for weight-for-length, weight-for-age and length-for-age and, if they were low, the children were regarded as wasted, malnourished or stunted, respectively. At the end of the study, there were 48 infected and 93 uninfected children. There were no significant differences between the two groups at birth. Thereafter, the infected group was found to have early and sustained low mean Z-scores for length-for-age and weight-for-age but not for weight-for-length. The means reached significance at ages 3, 6 and 12 months for length and at 3, 6 and 9 months for weight. Infected children who died early had more severe stunting, wasting and malnutrition than infected children who survived. Infected children born to HIV-positive women have early and sustained stunting and are malnourished but not wasted. Children with rapidly progressive disease have both stunting and wasting and are more severely affected. Early nutritional intervention might help prevent early progression or death in HIV-infected children, particularly in developing countries without access to anti-retroviral therapy in state hospitals.

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