The relationship between anthropometric measurements and measurements of iron status and susceptibility to malaria in Gambian children

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1991 Sep-Oct;85(5):584-9. doi: 10.1016/0035-9203(91)90351-x.


Anthropometric measurements were made and serum iron and ferritin levels determined in a group of Gambian children at the beginning of the rainy season and these findings were related to the malaria experience of the children during the following malaria transmission season. Susceptibility to malaria was not correlated with prior weight-for-age, height-for-age, weight-for-height or serum albumin, or with serum iron, serum iron binding capacity nor serum ferritin. Thus, our findings do not provide any support for the view that poor nutritional status, as assessed by anthropometric measurements, or iron deficiency protect against malaria infection. Children who developed a clinical attack of malaria accompanied by a high level of parasitaemia tended to have a higher mean weight-for-age at the beginning of the rainy season than did children who had a clinical attack accompanied by a low level of parasitaemia, but the difference between groups was not statistically significant. However, they had a significantly higher mean serum ferritin level (P less than 0.01).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Body Height / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Hematocrit
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Iron / blood
  • Iron Deficiencies*
  • Malaria / blood
  • Malaria / complications*
  • Male
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / complications*
  • Serum Albumin / analysis


  • Serum Albumin
  • Iron