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Acta Paediatr. 2016 Sep;105(9):e406-11. doi: 10.1111/apa.13483. Epub 2016 Jun 21.

Nutrition factors predict earlier acquisition of motor and language milestones among young children in Haiti.

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Institute for Public Health, Brown School, St. Louis, MO, USA.
Washington University Medical School, St. Louis, MO, USA.



To examine the nutrition-related factors associated with motor and language development among young children living in a poor urban area of Haiti.


Children aged 6-11 months (n = 583) were enrolled and followed monthly for one year. World Health Organization motor developmental milestones and vowel and consonant counts were assessed. Longitudinal regression models were applied to assess the association of anthropometric, dietary intake, infectious disease morbidity and socio-economic and demographic factors on developmental outcomes.


At baseline, 9.4% were stunted or length-for-age Z score < -2, and 30.2% were mild-to-moderately stunted or length-for-age Z score < -1. Stunting status was significantly associated with motor and phonetic language acquisition at each time point during infancy. Several nutrition factors significantly predicted earlier achievement of motor and language development outcomes in longitudinal models: child anthropometry; breastfeeding and complementary feeding frequencies; dietary diversity; egg and oil intake; and reduced infectious disease morbidities. Increases in the length-for-age Z score significantly predicted all motor and language outcomes and yielded the best fit models compared to other anthropometric indicators (p < 0.001).


Child development interventions may be enhanced by incorporating nutrition strategies such as improved diet quality, breastfeeding promotion and diarrhoeal disease mitigation.


Anthropometry; Child feeding practices; Diarrhoea; Motor and language developmental milestones

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