Intersection of stunting, animal cohabitation, and the gut microbiota
affects 171 million children worldwide. Risk factors can vary by country but include
inadequate nutrition and frequent infections. Stunted children have a higher risk for
infections and malabsorption, resulting in a cycle of malnutrition. Several studies have
found that the composition of intestinal bacteria, the gut microbiota, is different
between children with stunting v... read moreersus those without stunting. Cohabitation with
production animals has been linked to decreased sanitary conditions and increased
infections. The rate of stunting in Guatemala is one of the highest in the world at 48%
of children under 5 years old. The causes of stunting in this region are poorly
understood. We conducted a pilot cross-sectional study using questionnaires,
anthropometric measures, and stool samples to explore possible correlates of stunting in
a sample of 24-month-old children from the suburban municipality of La Esperanza,
Guatemala. Fifty-six children were recruited, and the mothers interviewed. Half of the
children in the study were stunted. Animal cohabitation was reported evenly between
those with and without stunting. Members of the Lachnospiraceae family were found to be
differentially abundant between stunted and non-stunted children. Markers of intestinal
inflammation were measured by ELISA, but not found to be associated with height-for-age
Z-scores. This preliminary work lays the foundation for further investigations into
stunting and the gut microbiota in Guatemala.
Thesis (M.S.)--Tufts University, 2018.
Submitted to the Dept. of Clinical & Translational Science.
Advisor: Christine Wanke.
Committee: Honorine Ward, and Robin Ruthazer.
Keyword: Translation studies.read less