With improvements in the treatment of acute diarrhea, the mainstay of which is ORT, it is estimated that approximately 1 million fewer infants and children die each year from diarrhea. This has moved diarrheal disease from being the most common cause of childhood deaths to second place, being displaced by acute respiratory infections, primarily pneumonia.
The nutritional status of population groups is one meaningful indicator of the state of development in socalled developing countries. Countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America might come under the term of “less-industrialised countries in the tropics and sub-tropics”. It seems to be common knowledge in these countries that poverty is one of the important reasons for malnutrition, poor health, high morbidity and mortality. Global estimates of the health situation conducted by international organizations reflect socio-economic aspects and report indicators of the economic status of regions in the world. Recent textbooks on “Health and Disease in Developing Countries” also link “global dilemmas” to inequity, injustice and poverty.
Although the full-term infant is a homeotherm, his ability to regulate body temperature is less effective than that of older children. Low birth weight babies and the small for gestational age, as well as preterm babies, also have greater problems in maintaining body temperature. Neonates must adapt to their relatively cold environment by metabolic production of heat, as they are not able to generate an adequate shivering response. Term newborns have a specialized brown fat, which is highly vascularized and innervated by sympathetic neurons.