Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sanitation and stunting in India

In yesterday's New York Times:
Poor Sanitation in India May Afflict Well-Fed Children With Malnutrition

Although the article does not specifically mention environmental enteropathy, it indirectly references the sub-clinical condition as a potential reason that Indian children are stunted even when consuming adequate nutrition. The idea is that chronic exposure to fecal-contamination in the environment can impair the guts of young children, preventing normal absorption of nutrients. The article links to several non-peer reviewed papers on the cross-sectional association between stunting and rates of open defecation in rural India. It also mentions the WASH Benefits study, two randomized controlled trials currently being conducted in Kenya and Bangladesh that will provide rigorous evidence on the impact of improved sanitation on child growth.