PMID: 7931717Oct 1, 1994Paper

Child anthropometry and mortality in Malawi: testing for effect modification by age and length of follow-up and confounding by socioeconomic factors

The Journal of Nutrition
D L PelletierL A Msukwa


As shown in a review of 28 studies, anthropometric measurements of preschool-aged children are consistently related to the risk of subsequent mortality in community-based studies from Asia and Africa (Pelletier 1994). Although the results are consistent at this general level, a number of important questions remain concerning the relationship. The purpose of this study is to address two of these questions using data from a similar study conducted in rural northern Malawi: 1) In relation to screening, are the anthropometry-mortality relationships affected by the child's age and the interval between measurement and death ("length of follow-up") and 2) In relation to policy implications, is the anthropometry-mortality relationship due to confounding by socioeconomic factors, especially when considering mild-to-moderate malnutrition. The results reveal that mortality prediction is significantly affected by child's age and length of follow-up, but the strength and direction of this effect modification varies across the four commonly used anthropometric indicators [weight-for-age (WA), height-for-age (HA), weight-for-height (WH) and arm circumference-for-age (ACA)]. An important result for public health practice is that there are no s...Continue Reading

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