Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate potential risk factors for growth faltering among children under 5 years of age. Method: We conducted a prospective cohort study of 553 children under 5 years from diarrhoea patient households in urban Dhaka, Bangladesh. Height and weight measurements were obtained at baseline and at a 12-month follow-up. Caregivers of young children were administered a monthly questionnaire on household sociodemographic characteristics and hygiene practices. Results: Children with caregiver reports of mouthing soil at the majority of household visits had a significant reduction in their height-for-age z-scores (HAZ) from baseline to the 12-month follow-up (ΔHAZ: −0.28 (95% confidence interval (CI): −0.51, −0.05)). A significant reduction in HAZ was also observed for children in households with animals in their sleeping space (ΔHAZ: −0.37 (95% CI: −0.71, −0.04)). Conclusion: These findings provide further evidence to support the hypothesis that child mouthing of soil and the presence of animals in the child’s sleeping space are potential risk factors for growth faltering among young children. Interventions are urgently needed to provide clean play and sleeping spaces for young children to reduce exposure to faecal pathogens through child mouthing.
- child mouthing
- growth faltering
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases