Geophagy Is Associated with Growth Faltering in Children in Rural Bangladesh

Jamie Perin, Alvin Thomas, Lauren Oldja, Shahnawaz Ahmed, Tahmina Parvin, Sazzadul Islam Bhuyian, Bidduth Sarker, Shwapon K. Biswas, Abu S.G. Faruque, R. Bradley Sack, Christine M. George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective To determine the relationship between geophagy (mouthing of dirt, sand, clay, or mud) and growth faltering in young children. Study design We examined linear growth as height and weight standardized by age and sex, and weight standardized by height, in a cohort of children aged 6-36 months in rural Mirzapur, Bangladesh. We determined geophagy behavior at baseline through caregiver report. Anthropometric measurements were assessed at baseline and at a 1-year follow-up. Results We found that among children not stunted at baseline, those with caregiver-reported geophagy at baseline grew less over 1 year compared with their peers, with a difference in the change of standardized height for age and sex of −0.31 (95% CI, −0.61 to −0.01). Conclusion These findings show that caregiver-reported geophagy was associated with growth faltering in a pediatric population in rural Bangladesh. Future studies are needed to learn more about this exposure pathway and its relevance to child growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-39.e1
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • environmental enteropathy
  • environmental exposure
  • mouthing
  • stunting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Geophagy Is Associated with Growth Faltering in Children in Rural Bangladesh'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this