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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1978;72(3):239-43.

Water supply and nutritional status in rural northern Nigeria.


A high incidence of protein energy malnutrition (PEM) was found in a community survey of preschool children in rural northern Nigeria among whom gastro-enteritis is common. Wasting (less than 80% Weight/Height) was more common (37.9%) among those with scanty, unprotected water supplies than in those with copious protected water (10.2%) whereas the incidence of stunting (less than 90% Height/Age)) was similar. Severe coliform contaminatin of all water sources was demonstrable. Even higher numbers of coliforms in foods sampled suggests that other factors related to water supply may be more important than water purity in the genesis of the PEM/gastro-enteritis complex.

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