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Childhood obesity has become a major public health problem in many countries. To explore the risk factors of overweight in infants and young children might be helpful in developing an early overweight intervention strategy.
To assess the prevalence of overweight and the relationship of parental characteristics and feeding practices to overweight in infants and young children in Beijing, China.
Data on weight and length/height were collected on 4654 children aged 1–35 months in twelve communities in Beijing from a cross-sectional study. Overweight was defined as weight-for-length/height ≥2sd above the median of the WHO reference. Two hundred and fifteen families with overweight children and 215 families with normal-weight children were interviewed using a questionnaire to obtain feeding practices.
The overall prevalence of overweight was 4·7 %. Both parental overweight and low parental education were significantly higher among overweight than normal-weight children. The total energy intake was significantly higher in overweight than in normal-weight children at 12–35 months of age. Compared with normal-weight children, significantly fewer overweight children were breast-fed for at least 4 months. Overweight children were also more likely to have been introduced to infant formula and semi-solid foods during the first 4 months.
Early prevention strategies should include feeding practices identified as putting children at risk of obesity. These include early cessation of breast-feeding and premature introduction of other foods.
To determine iodine levels in salt and iodine deficiency prevalence in school-aged children in 16 districts in Tanzania with previous severe iodine deficiency.
A cross-sectional study in schoolchildren. Systematic probability sampling was used to select schools and subjects for goitre assessment and urinary iodine determination.
Sixteen districts randomly selected from the 27 categorised as severely iodine-deficient in Tanzania.
The study population was primary-school children aged 6–18 years who were examined for goitre prevalence and urinary iodine concentration (UIC). Salt samples from schoolchildren's homes and from shops were tested for iodine content.
The study revealed that 83.3% of households (n = 21 160) in the surveyed districts used iodised salt. Also, 94% of sampled shops (n = 397) sold iodised salt, with a median iodine level of 37.0 ppm (range 4.2–240 ppm). Median UIC in 2089 schoolchildren was 235.0 μg l− 1 and 9.3% had UIC values below 50 μg l− 1. The overall unweighted mean visible and total goitre prevalence was 6.7% and 24.3%, respectively (n = 16 222). The age group 6–12 years had the lowest goitre prevalence (3.6% visible and 18.0% total goitre, n = 7147). The total goitre prevalence had decreased significantly in all districts from an unweighted mean of 65.4% in the 1980s to 24.3% in 1999 (P < 0.05). We believe this difference was also biologically significant.
These findings indicate that iodine deficiency is largely eliminated in the 16 districts categorised as severely iodine-deficient in Tanzania, and that the iodine content of salt purchased from shops is highly variable.
To investigate and compare feeding practices among infants of less than 7 months of age in a rural and an urban area in Tanzania.
Cross-sectional, questionnaire-based interview of mothers and focus group discussions with extension workers and community leaders.
Eleven villages in a rural district and 10 wards in an urban district in the Morogoro region, Tanzania, west of Dar es Salaam.
Probability samples of mothers with infants of less than 7 months of age (n = 320 from each area).
Exclusive breast-feeding was rarely practised in either the rural or urban areas investigated. However, the urban mothers initiated breast-feeding earlier, discarded colostrum less frequently, breast-fed exclusively for a longer period, gave breast milk as the first feed more often and delayed the introduction of solid foods for longer than their rural counterparts. The rural mothers, on the other hand, breast-fed their previous infants slightly longer than the urban mothers.
The better performance of urban mothers could be partly due to sustained breast-feeding support in hospital settings and other campaigns which may not have reached the rural areas. In both the rural and urban areas more efforts are needed to encourage exclusive breast-feeding, to avoid premature complementation and, in the case of the urban areas, to protect extended breast-feeding.
To evaluate the long-term effects of a horticultural and nutrition education intervention in rural Tanzania.
A quasi-experimental post-test design was used.
The research was carried out in 10 villages in Singida region, Tanzania.
Mothers and their children aged 6–71 months (n = 236) from an experimental (Ilongero) and control (Ihanja) area were interviewed regarding knowledge and practices related to vitamin A nutrition. Intake of vitamin A-rich foods by the children during the 7 days prior to the interview was recorded. Stools were examined for helminths and serum samples were analysed for retinol and C-reactive protein (CRP) (n = 146) for the children aged 12–71 months.
Knowledge and practices were more favourable to vitamin A intake in the experimental area than in the control area, and an increased frequency of intake of green leaves was associated with higher serum retinol values. The experimental area had lower mean serum retinol levels (13.7 μg dl−1, n = 75) than the control area (19.3 μg dl−1, n = 71). One likely confounder was the higher helminth infestation in the experimental area (n = 75, 79%) than in the control area (n = 71, 49%) (P > 0.001). Children with helminths (n = 94) had a lower mean serum retinol level than those without (n = 52) (12.3 ± 5 vs. 24 ± 10 μg dl−1; P = 0.001).
Food-based vitamin A programmes can make sustainable improvements in knowledge and dietary practices but these may not necessarily be reflected in increases in serum retinol. Programme implementation and evaluation should take confounders into consideration as, in this case, helminth infestation.
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