Background: Stunting is prevalent by the age of 6 months in the indigenous population of the Western Highlands of Guatemala.
Aim: The objective of this study was to determine the time course and predictors of linear growth failure and weight-for-age in early infancy.
Study design and subjects: One hundred and forty eight term newborns had measurements of length and weight in their homes, repeated at 3 and 6 months. Maternal measurements were also obtained.
Results: Mean ± SD length-for-age Z-score (LAZ) declined from newborn -1.0 ± 1.01 to -2.20 ± 1.05 and -2.26 ± 1.01 at 3 and 6 months respectively. Stunting rates for newborn, 3 and 6 months were 47%, 53% and 56% respectively. A multiple regression model (R(2) = 0.64) demonstrated that the major predictor of LAZ at 3 months was newborn LAZ with the other predictors being newborn weight-for-age Z-score (WAZ), gender and maternal education∗maternal age interaction. Because WAZ remained essentially constant and LAZ declined during the same period, weight-for-length Z-score (WLZ) increased from -0.44 to +1.28 from birth to 3 months. The more severe the linear growth failure, the greater WAZ was in proportion to the LAZ.
Conclusion: The primary conclusion is that impaired fetal linear growth is the major predictor of early infant linear growth failure indicating that prevention needs to start with maternal interventions.
Keywords: AIC; Akaike Information Criterion; Birth weight; IFS; IUGR; Infant growth; LAZ; LMP; Linear growth; Predictors of infant growth; SES; VIF; WAZ; WLZ; intra-uterine growth retardation; iron folate supplement; last menstrual period; length-for-age Z-score; socio-economic status; variance inflation factor; weight-for-age Z-score; weight-for-length Z-score.