Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 28796794
Link to DOI – 10.1371/journal.pone.0182363
PLoS One 2017 ; 12(8): e0182363
Stunting remains a major public health concern worldwide. Although its global prevalence is slowly decreasing, the actual number of affected children is still rising in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the Central African Republic (CAR), about one third of all children below the age of five are stunted. Stunting is correlated with many long-term consequences, including poor cognitive development and a higher rate of morbidity and mortality, making stunting a major contributor to poverty. In CAR, little is known about the factors that contribute to stunting. This study aimed at analysing, in a cross-sectional study, the main factors associated with stunting in a group of 414 children recruited between December 2011 and November 2013, aged five years or less and living in Bangui. For all children, demographic, socio-economic and anthropometric data were recorded and asymptomatic enteropathogen carriage was assessed in stool samples using classical microbiological assays. The study group had a mean age of 14.2±10 months. Fifty-eight percent (292/414) were boys, and 36 percent (148/414) exhibited stunted growth. Of the stunted children, 51% (75/148) showed a moderate delay in linear growth for their age group [height-for-age z-score (HAZ) between -2 and -3 SD] while 49% (73/148) presented a severe delay (HAZ 2 SD; aOR: 3.21; 95% CI: 1.50; 6.90 of overweight compared to normal weight] as also being significantly associated with stunting. This is the first study showing that even in the poorest countries of the world there is an association of stunting with being overweight.