Malnutrition dominates south-western Uganda, especially in rural areas. For infants, these nutritional deficiencies are having serious consequences. A cross-sectional study now describes in detail to what extent an undersupply of nutrients has led to cognitive, linguistic, and motoric impairments in 6-8-month-old babies (1).
512 small-scale families with infancy children from Kabale and Kisoro, two impoverished rural and densely populated districts in southwest Uganda, have been included in the study. Almost one in four babies had grown too small for their age and weighed far too little. In addition, every third baby was ill. The children suffered in particular from colds, diarrhea, malaria, skin rash and eye infections. A quarter of the children lacked communication and gross motor skills, and one in seven showed weakened social interaction.
The Ugandan Norwegian team of scientists described the relationship between these physical and mental developmental retardations, poverty and malnutrition: for example, most babies were fed only twice or less a day, and only low-energy foods were substituted for breast milk. Nutritional interventions would significantly improve the conditions for how Ugandan children start their life.
(1) G. K. M. Mouhozi et al. Nutritional and developmental status among 6- to 8-month-old children in southwestern Uganda: a cross-sectional study. In: Food & Nutrition Research. Mai 2016; Online-publishing: 60, 10.3402/fnr.v60.30270., available via https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4884678/