Is there an association between the nutritional status of the mother and that of her 2-year-old to 5-year-old child?
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The aim of this study was to determine whether there is an association between the nutritional status of the mother and that of her 2-year-old to 5-year-old child in a rural village in South Africa where there is a high prevalence of childhood malnutrition (in particular, deficiencies of vitamin A and iron) and of maternal obesity. A blood sample and anthropometric measurements were obtained for 118 child /mother pairs. There was a positive mother /child correlation for serum ferritin (R /0.2304, P B /0.05) and haemoglobin (R /0.2664, PB /0.01) concentrations, respectively. The child of an anaemic mother had a relative risk of 1.632 of also being anaemic. There was no mother /child association for either serum retinol concentration or anthropometric measurements. Serum retinol concentrations showed a positive correlation with both serum ferritin (mothers only; R /0.2161, PB /0.01) and haemoglobin (R /0.2807, P B /0.01 for mothers; and R /0.2710, PB /0.01 for children) concentrations. The mother /child association for iron status is probably because of an inadequate dietary intake and low bioavailability of dietary iron, which are major causes of iron deficiency. The lack of mother /child association for serum retinol concentration could probably be ascribed to the fact that children are more susceptible to vitamin A deficiency than adults because of childhood diseases.
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