Key Concept

Key Evidence: A large longitudinal study in the Philippines found that children suffering bouts of diarrhea and respiratory infections were at a significantly increased risk of physical stunting which is associated with “poor functional outcomes such as impaired cognitive development."

Adair, L.S. and Guilkey, D.K. 1997. Age-specific determinants of stunting in Filipino children. The Journal of Nutrition. 127.
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Key Evidence: A study looking at the long term cognitive deficits faced by children in an urban Brazilian shantytown with high incidence of diarrhea in the first two years of life showed that this cohort scored significantly lower on 3/5 types of test measuring cognitive function at ages 6-10 compared to children who did not suffer recurrent bouts of early childhood diarrhea. In particular, the children who suffered from persistent early childhood diarrhea scored lower on tests assessing nonverbal intelligence (TONI) and IQ through assessing ability to match symbols to numbers (WISC-III Coding task) and short-term memory (WISC-III digit scan).

Niehaus, M.D., Moore, S.R., Patrick, P.D., et al 2002. Early childhood diarrhea is associated with diminished cognitive function 4 to 7 years later in children in a northeast Brazilian shantytown. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 66(5).
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