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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003 Dec;57(12):1562-8.

Water and sanitation associated with improved child growth.

Author information

1
Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA. amerchan@hsph.harvard.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the relation between household water and sanitation, and the risk of stunting and reversal of stunting in Khartoum and Crezira regions, Sudan.

DESIGN:

Prospective cohort study.

SETTING:

A total of 25 483 children aged 6-72 months from rural Sudan enrolled in an 18-month field trial in 1988 to study the effect of vitamin A supplementation on child health and survival.

RESULTS:

The mean height-for-age z-scores at baseline and the end of study were -1.66 and -1.55, respectively, for the group with water and sanitation facilities, and -2.03 and -1.94 for the group without water and sanitation, after adjustment for age, region, gender, mother's literacy, intervention group (vitamin A vs placebo), family wealth, breastfeeding and cleanliness. Among children of normal height-for-age at baseline, the risk of stunting (<-2 height-for-age z-score) was lowest in the group that came from homes that had both water and sanitation compared to children from homes without these facilities (multivariate RR=0.79, 95% CI 0.69-0.90). Among children stunted at baseline, those coming from homes with water and sanitation had a 17% greater chance of reversing stunting than those coming from homes without either facility (adjusted RR=1.17, 95% CI 0.99-1.38). We did not detect a synergistic association between access to water and sanitation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Water and sanitation are independently associated with improved growth of children.

SPONSORSHIP:

None.

PMID:
14647221
DOI:
10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601725
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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