Direct nutrition intervention and the control of diarrheal diseases in preschool children

  • Wray J
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Abstract

This is a report of the reduction in frequency of diarrheal disease in malnourished school children, which was an unanticipated result of a nutrition intervention program in Candelaria, Colombia, during 1964-65. In a late 1963 baseline study all preschool children were weighed and measured and the mothers interviewed. Mothers of the malnourished were invited to participate in a supplementation program. Weekly records were kept of the episodes, and diarrheal disease decreased in the 182 children observed for a full calendar year. Each malnourished child was given 1 pound of dried skimmed milk (DSM) per week. In the 6-week program the mothers were educated about food and nutrition. At monthly intervals the children were weighed and measured. Among the 101 children with first degree malnutrition at the start of the program, almost two-thirds had improved; of the 72 with second degree malnutrition, three-fourths improved; and, all of the 9 with third degree malnutriton improved after the first year. Mothers commented that after receiving supplement for about 6 weeks their children had less diarrhea. Exclusive breastfeeding plays a protective role against diarrhea in the early months of life. The association between nutritional status and diarrheal disease is stronger than that of environmental sanitation.

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Authors

  • J. D. Wray

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