Individual and contextual determinants of the duration of diarrhoeal episodes in preschool children: a longitudinal study in an urban setting

Epidemiol Infect. 2012 Apr;140(4):689-96. doi: 10.1017/S0950268811000690. Epub 2011 May 19.


This study investigated individual and contextual factors associated with the duration of diarrhoeal episodes in 693 young children living in a large Brazilian city who were followed-up for at least 3 months. The outcome is analysed as a continuous variable, by means of a hierarchical conceptual model organizing the factors in meaningful blocks. A total of 2397 episodes were recorded (median duration 2 days, interquartile range 1-3 days). Low percentage of households connected to the sewerage system in the neighbourhood, low family purchasing power, high agglomeration, mother aged <19 years, low zinc content in child's diet, and episode severity were significantly associated with longer duration (0·26-0·69 days more). Purchasing power effect was largely mediated by environmental conditions, characteristics of the child, and hygienic behaviour. Environmental conditions acted as a possible effect modifier, enhancing the effect on duration of diarrhoea of the child not having being vaccinated against measles or breastfed for >6 months.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diarrhea / epidemiology*
  • Diet
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data