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Pediatrics. 2016 Aug;138(2). pii: e20154698. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-4698.

Linear Growth and Child Development in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Malawi.

Author information

1
Departments of Nutrition, and elprado@ucdavis.edu.
2
Departments of Nutrition, and.
3
Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana;
4
Center for Child Health Research, University of Tampere School of Medicine and Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland; Department of Paediatrics, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland;
5
Center for Child Health Research, University of Tampere School of Medicine and Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland;
6
Departments of Nutrition, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, Washington;
7
School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Malawi College of Medicine, Blantyre, Malawi;
8
Departments of Nutrition, and Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana;
9
Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé/DRO, Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso; and.
10
Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California Davis, Davis, California;
11
Departments of Individual, Family, and Community Education and Family and Community Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We aimed to produce quantitative estimates of the associations between 4 domains of child development and linear growth during 3 periods: before birth, early infancy, and later infancy. We also aimed to determine whether several factors attenuated these associations.

METHODS:

In 3700 children in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Malawi, growth was measured several times from birth to age 18 months. At 18 months, language, motor, socioemotional, and executive function development were assessed. In Burkina Faso (n = 1111), personal-social development was assessed rather than the latter 2 domains.

RESULTS:

Linear growth was significantly associated with language, motor, and personal-social development but not socioemotional development or executive function. For language, the pooled adjusted estimate of the association with length-for-age z score (LAZ) at 6 months was 0.13 ± 0.02 SD, and with ΔLAZ from 6 to 18 months it was 0.11 ± 0.03 SD. For motor, these estimates were 0.16 ± 0.02 SD and 0.22 ± 0.03 SD, respectively. In 1412 children measured at birth, estimates of the association with LAZ at birth were similar (0.07-0.16 SD for language and 0.09-0.18 SD for motor development). These associations were weaker or absent in certain subsets of children with high levels of developmental stimulation or mothers who received nutritional supplementation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Growth faltering during any period from before birth to 18 months is associated with poor development of language and motor skills. Interventions to provide developmental stimulation or maternal supplementation may protect children who are faltering in growth from poor language and motor development.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00944281 NCT00945698 NCT01239693 NCT00970866.

PMID:
27474016
DOI:
10.1542/peds.2015-4698
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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