PMID: 7931716Oct 1, 1994Paper

The relationship between child anthropometry and mortality in developing countries: implications for policy, programs and future research

The Journal of Nutrition
D L Pelletier

Abstract

The prevention of child mortality is a commonly stated health goal in developing countries and the target of much international assistance in the health sector. Over the past decade the primary strategy for accelerating the reduction in child mortality has been the dissemination of simple, low-cost technologies, such as immunization, oral rehydration therapy and antibiotics, that target specific diseases (Huffmann and Steel 1994). This is done despite the knowledge that malnutrition and disease have a synergistic relationship (Scrimshaw et al. 1968) and that the optimal strategy may involve a combination of health and nutrition interventions. In the 1970s, for instance, it was estimated that malnutrition (notably protein-energy malnutrition--PEM) was the underlying or contributing cause of death for roughly half of all deaths to children aged 1-4 years in several Latin American countries (Puffer and Serrano 1973). Apart from this early study, however, there has been little effort to quantify the contribution of malnutrition to child mortality in other regions of the world in ways which are meaningful to policy. This paper reviews the results of 28 community-based, prospective studies, in 12 Asian and Sub-Saharan African countri...Continue Reading

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