Infants Born at Excessive Altitudes Might Be Smaller

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Babies Born at High Altitudes May Be Smaller

Living at high altitudes can be linked to the birth of smaller babies, who grow more slowly as childhood progresses.

The researchers studied 964,299 children in 59 low and middle income countries in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Among them were 106,441 living above an altitude of 1,500 meters, or about a mile high.

The study in JAMA Pediatrics controlled gender, mother's age, level of education and other factors, but still found a direct relationship between altitude and altitude: from 500 meters above sea level, the higher the altitude, the shorter the babies are & # 39; Length at birth and the slower their growth up to 5 years old.

The researchers also looked at a subgroup of 1,718 children who live in what they consider to be an ideal home environment – that is, single births with access to clean water and sanitation, who live in a household that owns a television and a car and in Hospitals born to mothers with received more than one high school education and required vaccinations for children. The association was weaker but still significant.

According to lead author Kaleab Baye, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, the finding should also be relevant in the USA.

"There are studies that consistently show that children born at high altitude in Colorado have lower mean birth weights," he said.

Unfortunately, he added, “We know little about mechanisms. Understanding the mechanisms and approving some interventions will take time. "

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