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Int J Epidemiol. 1994 Aug;23(4):782-6.

Determinants of stunting and recovery from stunting in northwest Uganda.

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World Bank, Washington, DC 20433.



Socioeconomic deprivation is associated with unhealthy living conditions and insufficient nutrient intake which affect linear growth. This study investigates the major risk factors which influence stunting in Northwest Uganda, the age range at which growth failure is more likely to occur, and the age at which chances of recovery are higher.


In February-March 1987, 1072 children < 5 years, were selected from 30 villages in Arua district (Northwest Uganda) and included in a longitudinal study. The children were measured for length and height; household socioeconomic and environmental variables were collected in order to assess risk factors for the future development of stunting. Two years after baseline, the height of the children was measured again.


Children who were < 29 months old at baseline were at higher risk for linear growth faltering in the following 2 years; income, mother's education and presence of stunting at baseline were significant predictors of stunting. However, being stunted at age < 6 months or between 54 and 59 months old carried the same risk of remaining stunted after 2 years, and the probability of recovering from stunting was the same in every age group.


These results suggest that, in this population, linear growth is influenced by environmental factors. It is a dynamic process continuing beyond the first 2-3 years of life, and the probability of catching up is very similar across all age groups < 5 years old. Recovery from stunting is more associated with mother's education than with income.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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