Children in Sub-Saharan Africa are despite extensive food aid programs still disproportionately frequently affected by severe growth delays, also known as stunting.
Scientists from the Gambia admit that an effective concept for the reduction of childhood growth retardations has yet to be developed. The assessment is based on a summary of 36 years of intensive health interventions in three rural Gambian villages. Between 1976 and 2012 the weight per age, body size, weight per body size, upper arm circumference and head circumference were recorded in 3,659 children from birth up to the age of two years.
Thanks to intensive nutritional programs, all of these children’s growth parameters could be improved noticeably, with the exception of the ratio of weight to body size. The proportion of growth-delayed children was around 30% at the end of study. Growths retardations must be considered as a direct consequence of micronutrient deficiencies.
Helen M Nabwera et al. Growth faltering in rural Gambian children after four decades of interventions: a retrospective cohort study. The Lancet.Volume 5, No. 2, e208–e216, February 2017. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(16)30355-2