The Effect of Vitamin a Deficiency on Linear and Ponderal Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (P10-015-19)

Paddy Ssentongo, Djibril Ba, Anna Ssentongo, Vernon Chinchilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The association between vitamin A deficiency and child growth failure is not well understood and yet the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is very high in low resource countries. Anecdotal reports on the association between VAD and deficits in linear (stunting) or ponderal growth (wasting) often have yielded inconsistent results. These studies were not well powered. The objective of this study is to employ a large sample size to investigate the relationship between VAD, linear and ponderal growth in preschool-aged children in Uganda., Methods: We analyzed the 2015-2016 country-wide cross-sectional demographic and health survey data for Uganda. Data were collected using a multistage stratified sampling procedure that was applied in urban and rural areas, using enumeration area as the primary sampling unit. Participants were children aged 0-5 years. The primary outcome was linear and ponderal growth, and the exposure was VAD as determined by serum retinol binding protein of <0.825 mumol/L. Propensity score adjusted logistic regressions were invoked to delineate the independent association between VAD and child growth failure, both linear and ponderal., Results: Of 4765 children included, 1302 (27%) were stunted, 196 (4%) were wasted and 813 (7%) were underweight. The overall prevalence of VAD was 424 (9%), and higher in stunted children (35%) than wasted (5%) or underweight children (20%). There was an association between VAD and linear growth (OR: 1.55 95% CI: 1.2-1.9, P = 0.004). However, no association was observed between VAD and ponderal growth or underweight (product of ponderal and linear growth). In the propensity score adjusted model, independent factors associated with linear growth were: VAD, (OR = 1.54 95% CI 1.5-2.05), older age of greater than 6 months, mother's lack of education and being anemic., Conclusions: VAD is associated with linear growth but not ponderal growth in preschool-aged children. Efforts to implement and monitor nationwide Vitamin A supplementation in Uganda are urgently needed., Funding Sources: None., Supporting Tables Images and/or Graphs:
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCurrent Developments in Nutrition
Issue numberSupplement_1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


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