Navigation Links
New approach suggested for monitoring child health in developing countries
Date:2/1/2011

BOSTON (February 1, 2011) -- In a paper published in the January issue of the journal Economics and Human Biology, a team of applied economists including William A. Masters, a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, suggests a new approach to monitoring the relationship between nutrition and child mortality in developing countries.

Based on dozens of surveys compiled over 20 years, changes in the number of mildly underweight children could be used as an early-warning signal of underlying public health threats that are difficult to monitor in other ways, such as disease epidemics or changes in child feeding practices.

"Low bodyweight, in which nutrition plays a key role, is a well known symptom and also a cause of ill-health and mortality for children in developing countries. Observers and clinicians usually focus on the most severe cases, but for public health, the extent of mild underweight could be even more meaningful," says William A. Masters, PhD, who co-authored the study while a professor at Purdue University. "One reason is that there are so few children at the extremes and they are difficult to measure. Mild under-nutrition, which affects a much greater number of children, could be a powerful predictor of population health."

Masters and colleagues examined 130 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) conducted in 53 African, Asian, and South American countries between 1986 and 2006. Their data cover thousands of children between 3 months and 3 years of age, classified by weight according to World Health Organization (WHO) standards. The study focused on children who are underweight in terms of their weight-for-height ratio, signaling that they have not recently absorbed enough nutrients to meet their growing needs, and compared the prevalence of severe underweight to the number of children who are only mildly malnourished.

"Controlling for other variables, our tests showed that changes in the number of mild cases were more closely linked to child mortality than changes in the number of extreme cases," Masters says. "Change in the number of mild cases was also more closely correlated with local agricultural output." Co-authors of the study were Susan Chen, PhD, now an assistant professor at the University of Alabama, and Dr. Priya Bhagowalia, PhD, now an associate professor at TERI University in New Dehli, India. The paper derives from Bhagowalia's PhD dissertation at Purdue University, where she was advised by Masters and Chen.

"Our results are getting at how child nutrition is linked to broader public health concerns," Masters says. "For an individual child, severe underweight is much worse than mild underweight. Mildly undernourished children face only a small increase in their own mortality risk. But when a lot of children fall behind, something dangerous could be happening, perhaps the spread of contagious disease, a worsening of water quality, or food shortages."

Masters stressed that these results are just the beginning to opening up a new avenue of research. "Our results are based on one kind of data from the DHS surveys," he says. "We need to test for this relationship in other settings. If changes in mild undernutrition remain a useful predictor of child mortality, then health authorities around the world could use it as an early-warning signal to guide intervention before much of the damage occurs."


'/>"/>

Contact: Andrea Grossman
617-636-3728
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New approach needed to prevent major systemic failures
2. Evolution: A Developmental Approach
3. Wheat resistance genes failing, new approach needed to stop flies
4. Study of nutrition, Alzheimers links hampered by research approach
5. SomaLogic researchers describe revolutionary new approach to protein analysis and application to early diagnosis of lung cancer
6. Symposium in Vietnam to discuss integrated approach to defeating diarrheal disease
7. Scientists describe new approach for identifying genetic markers for common diseases
8. New approaches to skin cancer prevention
9. New approach to underweight COPD patients
10. Climate change forcing a move it or lose it approach to species conservation?
11. RD114 envelope proteins provide an effective and versatile approach to pseudotype lentiviral vectors
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 The ... Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, ... Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion ... and 2022. The base year considered for the study ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration from ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the ... Continue Reading ... ... Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD ... 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. ... Cancer Research, London (ICR) and University ... SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma ... MUK nine . The University of Leeds ... partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has ... The bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to ... period. , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates announced ... at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in ... residential home security market and how smart safety and security products impact ... Parks Associates: Smart Home ... "The residential security market has ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... DIEGO , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech ... biological mechanism by which its ProCell stem cell ... critical limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment ... amount of limbs saved as compared to standard ... the molecule HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: