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Chronic aflatoxin exposure has been associated with childhood stunting (length-for-age/height-for-age < –2 sd), while data lacks for Bangladesh, a country with substantial burden of childhood stunting. This paper examined the association between aflatoxin exposure and childhood stunting in a slum setting of Dhaka city.
In this MAL-ED aflatoxin birth cohort study, plasma samples were assayed for aflatoxin B1-lysine adduct (AFB1-lys) by MS at 7, 15, 24 and 36 months of age for 208, 196, 173 and 167 children to assess chronic aflatoxin exposure. Relationship between aflatoxin exposure and anthropometric measures was examined by mixed-effects logistic regression models.
Setting and participants:
The study was conducted in Mirpur, Dhaka, where children were followed from birth to 36 months.
Prevalence of stunting increased from 21 % at 7 months to 49 % at 36 months of age. Mean AFB1-lys concentrations at 7, 15, 24 and 36 months were 1·30 (range 0·09–5·79), 1·52 (range 0·06–6·35), 3·43 (range 0·15–65·60) and 3·70 (range 0·09–126·54) pg/mg albumin, respectively, and the percentage of children with detectable AFB1-lys was 10, 21, 18 and 62 %, respectively. No association was observed between aflatoxin exposure and stunting in multivariable analyses. Factors associated with childhood stunting were age, low birth weight, maternal height, stool myeloperoxidase and number of people sleeping in one room.
A relatively lower exposure to aflatoxin may not influence the linear growth of children. This finding indicates a threshold level of exposure for linear growth deficit and further investigation in other areas where higher concentrations of aflatoxin exposure exist.
To measure the role of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices on recovery from stunting and assess the role of timing of stunting on the reversal of this phenomenon
Data from the MAL-ED multi-country birth cohort study was used for the current analysis. Generalised linear mixed-effects models were used to estimate the probability of reversal of stunting with WASH practice and timing of stunting as the exposures of interest.
Seven different countries across three continents.
A total of 612 children <2 years of age.
We found that not WASH practice but timing of stunting had statistically significant association with recovery from stunting. In comparison with the children who were stunted at 6 months, children who were stunted at 12 months had 1·9 times (β = 0·63, P = 0·03) more chance of recovery at 24 months of age. And, children who were stunted at 18 months of age even had higher odds (adjusted OR = 3·01, β = 1·10, P < 0·001) of recovery than children who were stunted at 6 months. Additionally, mother’s height (β = 0·59, P = 0·04) and household income (β = 0·02, P < 0·05) showed statistically significant associations with the outcome.
The study provided evidence for the role of timing of stunting on the recovery from the phenomenon. This novel finding indicates that the programmes to promote linear growth should be directed at the earliest possible timepoints in the course of life.
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