Aggregated analyses of child growth in low-income countries reveal a remarkably consistent picture of serious growth failure compared to the WHO reference growth curves. A large proportion of the rapid growth deterioration in later infancy and the second year of life can be ascribed to infections and the wider non-specific effects of living in an unhygienic environment. Additional to these is a syndrome widely termed environmental enteric disease. Micronutrient deficiencies, and especially iron deficiency leading to anaemia, are also caused in some part by infections and inflammation that impair both their absorption and utilisation.
Andrew Prentice discusses in details during his presentation the need for holistic approaches that encompass a wide range of environmental improvements in addition to nutrition-specific interventions for improvement of growth and development in infancy and childhood.