Menu ENN Search

Preventing and treating growth faltering in Maya children

Research snapshot1

Guatemala, 2012The Maya people are descended from the indigenous inhabitants of southern Mexico, Guatemala and adjacent regions of Central America. In Guatemala, 50% of infants and children are stunted (very low height-for-age) and some rural Maya regions have >70% children stunted. A large, longitudinal, intergenerational database was created that included data from three sources. This report presents brief descriptions of the data and explains how they may serve to improve healthy birth, growth and development globally.

The first source is the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) study, a large, mixed-longitudinal study of human growth in Latin America that contains 138,000 cross-sectional sets of data (girls and boys aged four to 18 years). Between 1953 and 1999, children were assessed annually for height, weight, skinfolds, upper-arm circumference, permanent teeth erupted, hand-grip strength, general cognitive ability and reading performance, and a hand-and-wrist radiograph was taken. These data may help determine the most sensitive chronological ages and maturational stages for risks of stunting and neuro-cognitive impairment.

The second source is a set of child growth and intergenerational studies among the Maya in Mexico, performed over decades. This has resulted in many published papers, highlighting the development of the nutritional dual-burden phenomenon (coexistence of stunting with overweight/ obesity) and the impact of maternal grandmother’s childhood health status on fat accumulation in grandchildren. Further analysis may highlight relative contributions of the mother and grandmother on linear and mass growth of children.

The third dataset is from studies conducted since 1992 with Maya migrants in Los Angeles and Florida. Children had a marked increase in average height (11cm) and reduction in stunting. Most of these children were born in the United States and had access to clean drinking water, pre- and post-natal health care, food subsidies and a general positive environment, despite low socioeconomic status. The change in average height occurred in less than ten years but was accompanied by a marked rise in overweight/obesity. The sharing of these data may enable robust analyses to determine the interactions of pathophysiological causal pathways and genetic, epigenetic, environmental, social and demographic factors that directly affect the sensitivity, severity and duration of growth faltering and impaired neurocognitive development.

Read more...

Footnotes

1Varela-Silval MI, Bogin B, Sobral JA, Dickinson F and Monserrat-Revillo S. (2016). Deep data science to prevent and treat growth faltering in Maya children. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2016) 70, 679–680.

More like this

FEX: INCAP Longitudinal Study: 50 Years of History and Legacy

View this article as a pdf Research snapshot1 The INCAP Longitudinal Study is the longest followed cohort study since birth in a developing country. It is made up of people...

en-net: Adult Malnutrition

A colleague wants to do a research on double burden of maluntrition (stunting and overweight/obesity) at household and indivisual level using Demographic Health Survey . Just...

FEX: Early is best but it is not always too late. Young Lives evidence on nutrition and growth in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam

View this article as a pdf Summary of report Location: Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam What this article is about: Anthropometric data, taken from 12,000 children across...

FEX: The relationship between wasting and stunting: policy, programming and research implications

Summary of review1 This summary was prepared by Tanya Khara, an independent consultant engaged by the ENN on this review. The review was made possible by the generous support...

NEX: Post-infancy growth, schooling, and cognitive achievement: Young Lives

Summary of research paper: Crookston, B.G. et al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013 Sep; 1-9 Early life growth failure and resulting cognitive deficits are often...

NEX: El Salvador: the road from national nutrition strategy to local implementation

View this article as a pdf Lisez cet article en français ici Dáysi de Marquez is Executive Director of the National Council for Food Security and Nutrition...

FEX: Causes and consequences of child growth failure in low- and middle-income countries

View this article as a pdf Click here to listen to an interview with one of the authors on the ENN podcast channel Research snapshot1 Wasting and stunting contribute to...

FEX: Wasting is associated with stunting in early childhood

Summary of published research1 Location: Africa, Asia, Latin America What we know already: Wasting and stunting are respectively short term and longer term conditions of...

FEX: Relationships between wasting and stunting and their concurrent occurrence in Ghanaian pre-school children

Summary of research* Location: Ghana. What we know: Wasting is a short-term health issue, but repeated episodes may lead to stunting (long-term or chronic malnutrition). This...

FEX: Child wasting and concurrent stunting in low- and middle-income countries

View this article as a pdf Click here to listen to an interview with one of the authors on the ENN podcast channel Summary of research1 What we know: Cross-sectional,...

FEX: Double Burden of obesity and malnutrition in Western Sahara refugees

Summary of published research1 There is growing recognition of a ‘double burden’ of malnutrition among populations in both affluent and less-affluent countries, i.e. the...

FEX: Diet and nutrition status among school-age children and adolescents in Tanzania

View this article as a pdf By Sauli John, Geofrey Mchau, Heavenlight Ayubu, Stanslaus Mafung'a, Samafilan Ainan, Wiggins Kyatikila, Elizabeth Lyimo, Frank Chacky, Fatoumata...

FEX: Technical brief on the cost of malnutrition

Summary of research1 Location: Global What we know: Poor nutrition carries a significant economic burden at individual, national and global levels and prevents poverty...

FEX: Causes of chronic malnutrition: The cultural dimension

By Bronwen Gillespie Bronwen has a degree in Anthropology/International Development and a MA in Global Political Economy. She has worked in the area of food security and...

Resource: The relationship between wasting and stunting: a retrospective cohort analysis of longitudinal data in Gambian children from 1976 to 2016

Abstract Background: The etiologic relationship between wasting and stunting is poorly understood, largely because of a lack of highquality longitudinal data from children at...

FEX: The relationship between wasting and stunting: a retrospective cohort analysis of longitudinal data in Gambian children from 1976 to 2016

View this article as a pdf Summary of research1 Location: Gambia What we know: There are gaps in understanding the relationship between wasting and stunting that often...

FEX: Global Nutrition Report

This Global Nutrition Report (GNR) is the first in an annual series. It tracks worldwide progress in improving nutrition status, identifies bottlenecks to change, highlights...

FEX: Use and misuse of stunting as a measure of child health

Research snapshot1 The term “stunting” has become pervasive in international nutrition and child health research, programme and policy circles. Although originally...

FEX: Role of nutrition in integrated early child development

Research Location: Global What we know already: Early child development (ECD) is a key predictor of future social capital and national productivity. Worldwide, 250 million...

en-net: SE Asian Growth Standards

Hi, Does anyone have information on growth standards for SE Asia, specifically for Vietnam. The WHO growth standards are great reference points for assessing growth, and I know...

Close

Reference this page

Preventing and treating growth faltering in Maya children. Field Exchange 55, July 2017. p22. www.ennonline.net/fex/55/preventingandtreatinggrowth

(ENN_5713)

Close

Download to a citation manager

The below files can be imported into your preferred reference management tool, most tools will allow you to manually import the RIS file. Endnote may required a specific filter file to be used.