Panel Paper: Protein and Micronutrient Intakes Are Associated with Child Growth and Morbidity from Infancy to Adulthood in the Philippines

Monday, June 13, 2016 : 11:30 AM
Clement House, 3rd Floor, Room 04 (London School of Economics)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Alok Bhargava, University of Maryland

Interactions between nutrition and infections in developing countries are complex and analyses of the inter-relationships requires data from longitudinal studies spanning several years and a comprehensive framework facilitating the formulation of food and health policies. The effects of dietary intakes in the Philippines for birth outcomes, heights, weights and morbidity during 2-24 months, heights and weights during 8-19 years, and completed adult heights were analyzed. Data on over 3000 children from Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey were modeled in four sets of analyses. Cross-sectional and multilevel models were estimated for length and weight at birth. Dynamic random effects models were estimated for children’s heights, weight, and morbidity levels during 2-24 months. Children’s heights and weights during 8-19 years were modeled using random effects models. Children’s heights at 22 years were modeled for investigating the effects of nutritional intakes in early years and in adolescence. The main findings were that maternal anthropometric indicators and energy intakes and sociodemographic variables were significantly associated with children’s length and weight at birth. Second, dynamic models for children’s heights and weights during 2-24 months showed significant effects of calcium and protein intakes; child morbidity levels were significantly associated with heights and weights, and higher β–carotene intakes were significantly associated with lower morbidity levels. Third, analyses of data on children during 8-19 years showed significant effects of protein and calcium intakes and of morbidity levels on heights and weights. Fourth, models for children’s heights at 22 years indicated significant effects of protein and calcium intakes during early years and in adolescence. Overall, the results underscored the need for formulating long-term food and health policies that enhance children’s physical development and ultimately their adult stature that is important for physical work capacity and labor productivity.