Linear Growth Faltering Is Associated with Subsequent Adverse Child Cognitive Developmental Outcomes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (REDUCE Program)

Christine Marie George, Jamie Perin, Jennifer Kuhl, Camille Williams, Nicole Coglianese, Elizabeth D. Thomas, Sarah Bauler, Ruthly François, Angela Ng, Yunhee Kang, Amani Sanvura Presence, Bisimwa Rusanga Jean Claude, Fahmida Tofail, Patrick Mirindi, Lucien Bisimwa Cirhuza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Globally, 140 million children under 5 years of age are estimated to be stunted. Previous studies have found an association between stunting and poor cognitive outcomes. However, there is limited evidence of this association in sub-Saharan African settings, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This prospective cohort study of 286 children under 5 years was conducted in rural DRC to investigate the association between diarrhea prevalence, child growth, and child cognitive developmental outcomes. Developmental outcomes were assessed by communication, fine motor, gross motor, personal social, problem-solving, and combined developmental scores measured by the Extended Ages and Stages Questionnaire (EASQ) at a 6-month follow-up visit. Height and weight were measured at baseline and a 6-month follow-up. Diarrhea prevalence was assessed through surveillance visits. Diarrhea prevalence was not associated with follow-up combined EASQ Z-scores at the 6-month follow-up (coefficient: 20.06 [95% CI: 20.29, 0.17]). Each additional standard deviation (SD) increase in height-for-age Z-scores from baseline to the 6-month follow-up increased combined EASQ Z-scores by 0.22 (95%: 0.14, 20.31) SDs. Each additional SD increase in weight-for-age Z-scores from baseline to the 6-month follow-up increased combined EASQ Z-scores by 0.21 (95%: 0.10, 20.32) SDs. Linear growth faltering and reduced weight gain were associated with reduced cognitive developmental outcomes among children residing in rural DRC. Interventions are urgently needed for this susceptible pediatric population to improve child growth and cognitive developmental outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-360
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume106
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology
  • Parasitology

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