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Stunting at birth: recognition of early-life linear growth failure in the western highlands of Guatemala.

Solomons, Noel W; Vossenaar, Marieke; Chomat, Anne-Marie; Doak, Colleen M; Koski, Kristine G; Scott, Marilyn E.
Public Health Nutr; 18(10): 1737-45, 2015 Jul.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26017476


Measurements of length at birth, or in the neonatal period, are challenging to obtain and often discounted for lack of validity. Hence, classical 'under-5' stunting rates have been derived from surveys on children from 6 to 59 months of age. Guatemala has a high prevalence of stunting (49.8%), but the age of onset of growth failure is not clearly defined. The objective of the study was to assess length-for-age within the first 1.5 months of life among Guatemalan infants.


As part of a cross-sectional observational study, supine length was measured in young infants. Mothers' height was measured. Length-for-age Z-scores (HAZ) were generated and stunting was defined as HAZ <-2 using WHO growth standards.


Eight rural, indigenous Mam-Mayan villages (n 200, 100% of Mayan indigenous origin) and an urban clinic of Quetzaltenango (n 106, 27% of Mayan indigenous origin), Guatemala.


Three hundred and six newborns with a median age of 19 d.


The median rural HAZ was -1.56 and prevalence of stunting was 38%; the respective urban values were -1.41 and 25%. Linear regression revealed no relationship between infant age and HAZ (r = 0.101, r(2) = 0.010, P = 0.077). Maternal height explained 3% of the variability in HAZ (r = 0.171, r(2) = 0.029, P = 0.003).


Stunting must be carried over from in utero growth retardation in short-stature Guatemalan mothers. As linear growth failure in this setting begins in utero, its prevention must be linked to maternal care strategies during gestation, or even before. A focus on maternal nutrition and health in an intergenerational dimension is needed to reduce its prevalence.
Selo DaSilva