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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2013 Feb;107(2):119-23. doi: 10.1093/trstmh/trs014. Epub 2012 Nov 1.

Are intestinal parasites fuelling the rise in dual burden households in Venezuela?

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Department of Health Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



In developing countries undergoing rapid economic development, the number of dual burden households (i.e. co-existing overweight/obesity and stunting) is increasing. While intestinal parasites are prevalent in these countries, their contribution to dual burden households has so far been neglected. We studied the association between intestinal parasite infection and belonging to a dual burden household in a rural community of Venezuela.


We examined 225 individuals. A dual burden household was defined as a household with at least one overweight/obese adult (BMI > 25) and at least one stunted child (height -for-age z score <-2). Intestinal parasite (Giardia lamblia and geohelminth) infection was determined by faecal smears.


In this community, 47.3% of the individuals were infected with intestinal parasites. Among adults, 65.2% were overweight/obese and 13.8% of the children were stunted. More than one in four households (26.8%) were dual burden households. Being infected with G. lamblia & geohelminths was significantly associated with being in a dual burden household (OR = 4.75, 95% CI: 1.01-22.20, n = 188), indicating a triple burden of disease in this community in Venezuela.


While the relationship between intestinal parasite infection and stunting has been well established, these results indicate a need to further explore the association of intestinal parasite infection with dual burden households.

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