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The stunting syndrome in developing countries.

Prendergast AJ, Humphrey JH - Paediatr Int Child Health (2014)

Bottom Line: Linear growth failure is the most common form of undernutrition globally.We view this condition as a 'stunting syndrome' in which multiple pathological changes marked by linear growth retardation in early life are associated with increased morbidity and mortality, reduced physical, neurodevelopmental and economic capacity and an elevated risk of metabolic disease into adulthood.Stunting is a cyclical process because women who were themselves stunted in childhood tend to have stunted offspring, creating an intergenerational cycle of poverty and reduced human capital that is difficult to break.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT
Linear growth failure is the most common form of undernutrition globally. With an estimated 165 million children below 5 years of age affected, stunting has been identified as a major public health priority, and there are ambitious targets to reduce the prevalence of stunting by 40% between 2010 and 2025. We view this condition as a 'stunting syndrome' in which multiple pathological changes marked by linear growth retardation in early life are associated with increased morbidity and mortality, reduced physical, neurodevelopmental and economic capacity and an elevated risk of metabolic disease into adulthood. Stunting is a cyclical process because women who were themselves stunted in childhood tend to have stunted offspring, creating an intergenerational cycle of poverty and reduced human capital that is difficult to break. In this review, the mechanisms underlying linear growth failure at different ages are described, the short-, medium- and long-term consequences of stunting are discussed, and the evidence for windows of opportunity during the life cycle to target interventions at the stunting syndrome are evaluated.

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The stunting syndrome. The green pathway denotes the period between conception and 2 years (‘the first 1000 days’) when stunting and probably all associated pathology are most responsive to, or preventable by, interventions. The yellow pathway denotes periods between age 2 years and mid-childhood and during the adolescent growth spurt when some catch-up in linear growth may occur, though effects during these periods on other components of the stunting syndrome (e.g. cognition and immune function) are less clear. The short yellow pathway before Conceptus reflects evidence that dietary interventions targeting stunted women during the pre-conception period improve birth outcomes. The red pathway denotes periods when the stunting syndrome appears unresponsive to interventions. Blue boxes list age-specific causative or aggravating factors. White boxes describe common age-specific outcomes. Between 2 years and adulthood, the pathways diverge to denote: dashed line, a stunted child whose environment becomes more affluent with abundant access to food, causing excessive weight gain; solid line: a stunted child whose environment remains resource-constrained/food insecure. Please see the text for citations
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pch-34-04-0250-f01: The stunting syndrome. The green pathway denotes the period between conception and 2 years (‘the first 1000 days’) when stunting and probably all associated pathology are most responsive to, or preventable by, interventions. The yellow pathway denotes periods between age 2 years and mid-childhood and during the adolescent growth spurt when some catch-up in linear growth may occur, though effects during these periods on other components of the stunting syndrome (e.g. cognition and immune function) are less clear. The short yellow pathway before Conceptus reflects evidence that dietary interventions targeting stunted women during the pre-conception period improve birth outcomes. The red pathway denotes periods when the stunting syndrome appears unresponsive to interventions. Blue boxes list age-specific causative or aggravating factors. White boxes describe common age-specific outcomes. Between 2 years and adulthood, the pathways diverge to denote: dashed line, a stunted child whose environment becomes more affluent with abundant access to food, causing excessive weight gain; solid line: a stunted child whose environment remains resource-constrained/food insecure. Please see the text for citations

Mentions: Although stunted children are identified by comparing their height to an age- and sex-matched reference population, short stature is not usually in itself problematic. Instead, we view this condition as a ‘stunting syndrome’ in which multiple pathological changes marked by linear growth retardation increase morbidity and mortality and reduce physical, neurodevelopmental and economic capacity. The short-, medium- and long-term sequelae of stunting, summarised in Figure 1, are discussed in detail later. Stunting is a cyclical process because women who were themselves stunted in childhood tend to have stunted offspring, creating an intergenerational cycle of poverty and reduced human capital that is difficult to break,18 although potential windows of opportunity have been identified (Fig. 1).


The stunting syndrome in developing countries.

Prendergast AJ, Humphrey JH - Paediatr Int Child Health (2014)

The stunting syndrome. The green pathway denotes the period between conception and 2 years (‘the first 1000 days’) when stunting and probably all associated pathology are most responsive to, or preventable by, interventions. The yellow pathway denotes periods between age 2 years and mid-childhood and during the adolescent growth spurt when some catch-up in linear growth may occur, though effects during these periods on other components of the stunting syndrome (e.g. cognition and immune function) are less clear. The short yellow pathway before Conceptus reflects evidence that dietary interventions targeting stunted women during the pre-conception period improve birth outcomes. The red pathway denotes periods when the stunting syndrome appears unresponsive to interventions. Blue boxes list age-specific causative or aggravating factors. White boxes describe common age-specific outcomes. Between 2 years and adulthood, the pathways diverge to denote: dashed line, a stunted child whose environment becomes more affluent with abundant access to food, causing excessive weight gain; solid line: a stunted child whose environment remains resource-constrained/food insecure. Please see the text for citations
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4232245&req=5

pch-34-04-0250-f01: The stunting syndrome. The green pathway denotes the period between conception and 2 years (‘the first 1000 days’) when stunting and probably all associated pathology are most responsive to, or preventable by, interventions. The yellow pathway denotes periods between age 2 years and mid-childhood and during the adolescent growth spurt when some catch-up in linear growth may occur, though effects during these periods on other components of the stunting syndrome (e.g. cognition and immune function) are less clear. The short yellow pathway before Conceptus reflects evidence that dietary interventions targeting stunted women during the pre-conception period improve birth outcomes. The red pathway denotes periods when the stunting syndrome appears unresponsive to interventions. Blue boxes list age-specific causative or aggravating factors. White boxes describe common age-specific outcomes. Between 2 years and adulthood, the pathways diverge to denote: dashed line, a stunted child whose environment becomes more affluent with abundant access to food, causing excessive weight gain; solid line: a stunted child whose environment remains resource-constrained/food insecure. Please see the text for citations
Mentions: Although stunted children are identified by comparing their height to an age- and sex-matched reference population, short stature is not usually in itself problematic. Instead, we view this condition as a ‘stunting syndrome’ in which multiple pathological changes marked by linear growth retardation increase morbidity and mortality and reduce physical, neurodevelopmental and economic capacity. The short-, medium- and long-term sequelae of stunting, summarised in Figure 1, are discussed in detail later. Stunting is a cyclical process because women who were themselves stunted in childhood tend to have stunted offspring, creating an intergenerational cycle of poverty and reduced human capital that is difficult to break,18 although potential windows of opportunity have been identified (Fig. 1).

Bottom Line: Linear growth failure is the most common form of undernutrition globally.We view this condition as a 'stunting syndrome' in which multiple pathological changes marked by linear growth retardation in early life are associated with increased morbidity and mortality, reduced physical, neurodevelopmental and economic capacity and an elevated risk of metabolic disease into adulthood.Stunting is a cyclical process because women who were themselves stunted in childhood tend to have stunted offspring, creating an intergenerational cycle of poverty and reduced human capital that is difficult to break.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT
Linear growth failure is the most common form of undernutrition globally. With an estimated 165 million children below 5 years of age affected, stunting has been identified as a major public health priority, and there are ambitious targets to reduce the prevalence of stunting by 40% between 2010 and 2025. We view this condition as a 'stunting syndrome' in which multiple pathological changes marked by linear growth retardation in early life are associated with increased morbidity and mortality, reduced physical, neurodevelopmental and economic capacity and an elevated risk of metabolic disease into adulthood. Stunting is a cyclical process because women who were themselves stunted in childhood tend to have stunted offspring, creating an intergenerational cycle of poverty and reduced human capital that is difficult to break. In this review, the mechanisms underlying linear growth failure at different ages are described, the short-, medium- and long-term consequences of stunting are discussed, and the evidence for windows of opportunity during the life cycle to target interventions at the stunting syndrome are evaluated.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus