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Bull World Health Organ. 1994;72(4):569-79.

Nutritional status as a predictor of child survival: summarizing the association and quantifying its global impact.

Author information

1
Center for International Health, Emory University School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA 30329.

Abstract

By pooling the results from five previously published prospective studies, we have obtained estimates of the relative risks of mortality among young children 6-24 months after they had been identified as having mild-to-moderate or severe malnutrition. These risk estimates, along with global malnutrition prevalence data, were then used to calculate the total number of young-childhood deaths "attributable" to malnutrition in developing countries. Young children (6-60 months of age) with mild-to-moderate malnutrition (60-80% of the median weight-for-age of the reference population) had 2.2 times the risk of dying during the follow-up period than their better nourished counterparts (> 80% of the median reference weight-for-age). Severely malnourished young children (< 60% of the reference median weight-for-age) had 6.8 times the risk of dying during the follow-up period than better nourished children. Each year approximately 2.3 million deaths of young children in developing countries (41% of the total for this age group) are associated with malnutrition. The comparability of studies, methods used to derive pooled values, potentially confounding factors that may influence risk estimates, and the validity of the results are discussed. Child survival programmes should assign greater priority to the control of childhood malnutrition.

PIP:

By pooling the results from five previously published prospective studies, the relative risks of mortality were estimated among young children 6-24 months after they had been identified as having mild-to-moderate or severe malnutrition. These risk estimates, along with global malnutrition prevalence data, were then used to calculate the total number of young childhood deaths attributable to malnutrition in developing countries. Children (6-60 months of age) with mild-to-moderate malnutrition (60-80% of the median weight-for-age of the reference population) had 2.2 times the risk of dying during the follow-up period than their better nourished counterparts ( 80% of the median reference weight-for-age). The relative risk of mild-to-moderate malnutrition was 1.2-3.5 compared with the reference categories of better nourished children whose expected weight-for-age was greater than either 75% or 80% of the median value. Severely malnourished children ( 60% of the reference median weight-for-age) had 6.8 times the risk of dying during the follow-up period than better nourished children. Each year in developing countries an estimated 1,251,280 excess deaths occur in mild-to-moderately malnourished children aged 6-60 months, while 1,067,268 excess deaths occur in severely malnourished children: in total 2,318,548 deaths. These excess deaths represent 41% of all deaths in this age group, or 21% of all deaths among under-5-year-olds. The relative risk of severe malnutrition ranged from 3.1 to 19.2 compared with the reference categories. A test for heterogeneity indicated that there were significant differences between the study relative risks (P 0.005). The pooled relative risk was 6.8; the overall association was highly significant (P 0.001). Child survival programs should assign greater priority to the control of childhood malnutrition.

PMID:
7923536
PMCID:
PMC2486600
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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