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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2005 May;72(5):534-9.

Impact of parasitic infections and dietary intake on child growth in the schistosomiasis-endemic Dongting Lake Region, China.

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Department of Human Ecology, School of International Health, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


The simultaneous impacts of parasitic infections and dietary intake on growth patterns were investigated for 427 children aged 10-13 years in the schistosomiasis-endemic Dongting Lake region of China. Height, weight, mid-upper arm circumference, and skinfold thicknesses (triceps, biceps, and subscapular) were measured, and eggs of Schistosoma japonicum, Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, and Fasciolopsis buski in the collected stool samples of each subject were detected by Kato-Katz thick smear technique. Long-term dietary intake of each subject was assessed with a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. The results demonstrate that the study children were retarded in growth compared with the standards of Chinese rural children; among them, the girls were more frequently infected for S. japonicum and had lower intakes of protein and energy. Reduced height, weight, and mid-upper arm circumference were noted in children infected with S. japonicum, most severely in the girls with the least energy and protein intakes. Multiple stepwise regression analysis indicated that growth retardation was significantly and substantially associated with S. japonicum infection and lack of protein-energy intakes. For child health programs, regular schistosomiasis screening and treatment in schoolchildren needs to be complemented by health and nutrition education for both children and parents. Also, special attention should be paid to educating parents about the needs of girls.

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