A quantitative study into the role of infection in determining nutritional status in Gambian village children

Br J Nutr. 1977 May;37(3):441-50. doi: 10.1079/bjn19770047.


1. Growth in weight and height in 152 children between the ages of 0-6 and 3 years was investigated in Keneba, a rural Gambian village. By 1 year of age the average weight-for-age of the children was only 75% of the Jelliffe (1966) standard. 2. The relationship between the prevalence of nine different categories of diseases and growth was investigated to determine the quantitative contribution of the diseases to the growth faltering observed. There was a highly significant negative relationship between gastroenteritis and both weight gain and height gain. The only other disease category having a similar relationship was malaria, but in this instance only with weight gain. 3. Although over-all growth in weight and height was considerably below the standard values, multiple regression analysis indicated that after the age of 1 year, except in July and August, normal and sometimes slow 'catch-up' growth would be possible in the absence of gastroenteritis. 4. Attention is drawn to the limitations of the use of anthropometry in a settled village community as the only criterion by which dietary adequacy can be judged.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Anthropometry
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developing Countries*
  • Gambia
  • Growth
  • Growth Disorders / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Infections / complications*
  • Nutrition Surveys