Would control of childhood infectious diseases reduce malnutrition?

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51 Scopus citations


Infectious diseases and especially diarrheal diseases have been noted to have an adverse effect on the growth of underprivileged children in developing countries. Diarrheal diseases have been estimated to account for 10-80% of growth retardation in the first few years of life, with the magnitude of effect possibly modified by other factors, such as the adequacy and source of dietary intake, treatment and feeding practices during and following illness and the opportunity for catch-up growth after illness. In the only study in which infectious diseases and routine dietary intake have been evaluated simultaneously, inadequate dietary intake rather than infectious diseases, was found to have the predominant role in growth faltering. Although reduction in infectious diseases is desirable for many reasons, the relative feasibility and cost of this approach to improve nutritional status must be compared with more direct nutrition interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalActa Paediatrica Scandinavica, Supplement
Issue number374
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


  • childhood infections
  • diarrhea
  • growth
  • malnutrition
  • nutritional status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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