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      Handwashing, sanitation and family planning practices are the strongest underlying determinants of child stunting in rural indigenous communities of Jharkhand and Odisha, Eastern India: a cross‐sectional study

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          Abstract

          The World Health Organisation has called for global action to reduce child stunting by 40% by 2025. One third of the world's stunted children live in India, and children belonging to rural indigenous communities are the worst affected. We sought to identify the strongest determinants of stunting among indigenous children in rural Jharkhand and Odisha, India, to highlight key areas for intervention.

          We analysed data from 1227 children aged 6–23.99 months and their mothers, collected in 2010 from 18 clusters of villages with a high proportion of people from indigenous groups in three districts. We measured height and weight of mothers and children, and captured data on various basic, underlying and immediate determinants of undernutrition. We used Generalised Estimating Equations to identify individual determinants associated with children's height‐for‐age z‐score (HAZ; p < 0.10); we included these in a multivariable model to identify the strongest HAZ determinants using backwards stepwise methods.

          In the adjusted model, the strongest protective factors for linear growth included cooking outdoors rather than indoors (HAZ +0.66), birth spacing ≥24 months (HAZ +0.40), and handwashing with a cleansing agent (HAZ +0.32). The strongest risk factors were later birth order (HAZ −0.38) and repeated diarrhoeal infection (HAZ −0.23).

          Our results suggest multiple risk factors for linear growth faltering in indigenous communities in Jharkhand and Odisha. Interventions that could improve children's growth include reducing exposure to indoor air pollution, increasing access to family planning, reducing diarrhoeal infections, improving handwashing practices, increasing access to income and strengthening health and sanitation infrastructure.

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          Most cited references 28

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          Water, sanitation and hygiene for the prevention of diarrhoea

          Background Ever since John Snow’s intervention on the Broad St pump, the effect of water quality, hygiene and sanitation in preventing diarrhoea deaths has always been debated. The evidence identified in previous reviews is of variable quality, and mostly relates to morbidity rather than mortality. Methods We drew on three systematic reviews, two of them for the Cochrane Collaboration, focussed on the effect of handwashing with soap on diarrhoea, of water quality improvement and of excreta disposal, respectively. The estimated effect on diarrhoea mortality was determined by applying the rules adopted for this supplement, where appropriate. Results The striking effect of handwashing with soap is consistent across various study designs and pathogens, though it depends on access to water. The effect of water treatment appears similarly large, but is not found in few blinded studies, suggesting that it may be partly due to the placebo effect. There is very little rigorous evidence for the health benefit of sanitation; four intervention studies were eventually identified, though they were all quasi-randomized, had morbidity as the outcome, and were in Chinese. Conclusion We propose diarrhoea risk reductions of 48, 17 and 36%, associated respectively, with handwashing with soap, improved water quality and excreta disposal as the estimates of effect for the LiST model. Most of the evidence is of poor quality. More trials are needed, but the evidence is nonetheless strong enough to support the provision of water supply, sanitation and hygiene for all.
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            Effect of handwashing on child health: a randomised controlled trial.

            More than 3.5 million children aged less than 5 years die from diarrhoea and acute lower respiratory-tract infection every year. We undertook a randomised controlled trial to assess the effect of handwashing promotion with soap on the incidence of acute respiratory infection, impetigo, and diarrhoea. In adjoining squatter settlements in Karachi, Pakistan, we randomly assigned 25 neighbourhoods to handwashing promotion; 11 neighbourhoods (306 households) were randomised as controls. In neighbourhoods with handwashing promotion, 300 households each were assigned to antibacterial soap containing 1.2% triclocarban and to plain soap. Fieldworkers visited households weekly for 1 year to encourage handwashing by residents in soap households and to record symptoms in all households. Primary study outcomes were diarrhoea, impetigo, and acute respiratory-tract infections (ie, the number of new episodes of illness per person-weeks at risk). Pneumonia was defined according to the WHO clinical case definition. Analysis was by intention to treat. Children younger than 5 years in households that received plain soap and handwashing promotion had a 50% lower incidence of pneumonia than controls (95% CI (-65% to -34%). Also compared with controls, children younger than 15 years in households with plain soap had a 53% lower incidence of diarrhoea (-65% to -41%) and a 34% lower incidence of impetigo (-52% to -16%). Incidence of disease did not differ significantly between households given plain soap compared with those given antibacterial soap. Handwashing with soap prevents the two clinical syndromes that cause the largest number of childhood deaths globally-namely, diarrhoea and acute lower respiratory infections. Handwashing with daily bathing also prevents impetigo.
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              Multi-country analysis of the effects of diarrhoea on childhood stunting.

              Diarrhoea is an important cause of death and illness among children in developing countries; however, it remains controversial as to whether diarrhoea leads to stunting. We conducted a pooled analysis of nine studies that collected daily diarrhoea morbidity and longitudinal anthropometry to determine the effects of the longitudinal history of diarrhoea prior to 24 months on stunting at age 24 months. Data covered a 20-year period and five countries. We used logistic regression to model the effect of diarrhoea on stunting. The prevalence of stunting at age 24 months varied by study (range 21-90%), as did the longitudinal history of diarrhoea prior to 24 months (incidence range 3.6-13.4 episodes per child-year, prevalence range 2.4-16.3%). The effect of diarrhoea on stunting, however, was similar across studies. The odds of stunting at age 24 months increased multiplicatively with each diarrhoeal episode and with each day of diarrhoea before 24 months (all P or=5 diarrhoeal episodes before 24 months was 25% (95% CI 8-38%) and that attributed to being ill with diarrhoea for >or=2% of the time before 24 months was 18% (95% CI 1-31%). These observations are consistent with the hypothesis that a higher cumulative burden of diarrhoea increases the risk of stunting.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                jenny.c.saxton@gmail.com
                Journal
                Matern Child Nutr
                Matern Child Nutr
                10.1111/(ISSN)1740-8709
                MCN
                Maternal & Child Nutrition
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                1740-8695
                1740-8709
                27 June 2016
                October 2016
                : 12
                : 4 ( doiID: 10.1111/mcn.2016.12.issue-4 )
                : 869-884
                Affiliations
                [ 1 ]UCL Institute for Global Health LondonUK
                [ 2 ]Ekjut Chakradharpur JharkhandIndia
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: Jennifer Saxton, UCL Institute for Global Health, 30 Guilford Street, London, UK. E‐mail: jenny.c.saxton@ 123456gmail.com .
                Article
                MCN12323 MCN-12-15-OA-1817.R2
                10.1111/mcn.12323
                5053246
                27350365
                © 2016 The Authors. Maternal & Child Nutrition published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 3, Pages: 16, Words: 9459
                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: Big Lottery Fund
                Award ID: IS/2/010281409
                Funded by: UK Medical Research Council
                Categories
                Original Article
                Original Articles
                Custom metadata
                2.0
                mcn12323
                mcn12323-hdr-0001
                October 2016
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_NLMPMC version:4.9.4 mode:remove_FC converted:06.10.2016

                child stunting, indigenous communities, eastern india

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