Long-term effects of early kwashiorkor compared with marasmus. II. Intellectual performance

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1987 Nov-Dec;6(6):847-54. doi: 10.1097/00005176-198711000-00005.


Intellectual performance including IQ (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised) and conservation was measured at ages 11-18 years in a follow-up study of Barbadian girls and boys who had histories of kwashiorkor (n = 53) or marasmus (n = 55) in their first year of life. They were compared with healthy neighborhood children matched by sex and age who had normal patterns of growth in early childhood (n = 58). On both IQ and conservation tests, children with previous kwashiorkor or marasmus had similar scores, which were significantly lower than scores of healthy comparison children. These findings were examined in relationship to current environmental conditions, which were similar in children with histories of kwashiorkor or marasmus and somewhat less advantaged than those of the comparison children. The effect of early malnutrition and related conditions at the time of episode still emerged as significant even when the current environmental factors were controlled for.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intelligence*
  • Kwashiorkor / complications*
  • Kwashiorkor / psychology
  • Male
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / complications*
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / psychology
  • Social Environment
  • Wechsler Scales