Dietary Diversity Is Positively Associated with Deviation from Expected Height in Rural Nepal.

Busert, LK; Neuman, M; Rehfuess, EA; Dulal, S; Harthan, J; Chaube, SS; Bhandari, B; Costello, H; Costello, A; Manandhar, DS; Saville, NM; (2016) Dietary Diversity Is Positively Associated with Deviation from Expected Height in Rural Nepal. The Journal of nutrition, 146 (7). pp. 1387-93. ISSN 0022-3166 DOI:

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Recent research has highlighted the need for additional studies on the nutrition input required to stabilize growth. Our objective was to examine the association between dietary diversity and conditional growth in children aged 0-89 mo. We analyzed cohort data from 529 mothers and children living in a remote and food-insecure region in the mountains of Nepal. Children were aged 0-59 mo at baseline and were followed up after 9 and 29 mo. Conditional growth was calculated as the deviation from the expected height-for-age difference (HAD) trajectory based on previous measures of HAD and the pattern of growth in the population. Dietary diversity was assessed with the use of a count of the foods consumed from 7 food groups in the previous 7 d. The association between dietary diversity and conditional growth during the 2 follow-up periods (of 9 and 20 mo, respectively) was estimated with the use of ordinary least-squares regressions. Prevalence of stunting and absolute height deficits was very high and increased over the course of the study. At the last measurement (age range 29-89 mo), 76.5% were stunted and the mean ± SD HAD was -11.7 ± 4.6 cm. Dietary diversity was associated positively with conditional growth in the later (May 2012-December 2013) but not the earlier (July 2011-May 2012) growth period. Children's ages ranged from 0 to 59 mo in July 2011, 9 to 69 mo in May 2012, and 29 to 89 mo in December 2013. After adjustment, increasing the dietary diversity by one food group was associated with a 0.09 cm (95% CI: 0.00, 0.17 cm) increase in conditional growth in the second growth period. Increasing dietary diversity for children reduces the risk of stunting and improves growth after growth faltering. Future efforts should be directed at enabling families in food-insecure areas to feed their children a more diverse diet.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
PubMed ID: 27306894
Web of Science ID: 379380100014


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