Anthropometry and Infectious and Parasitic Diseases

  • Pedro R. T. Romão
  • Francisco Martins Teixeira
  • Taysa Ribeiro Schalcher
  • Marta Chagas Monteiro


Anthropometric data are used to assess and predict performance, general health and survival of individuals and also can reflect the economic and social well being of populations. They are associated with the prognostic of several chronic pathologies such as risk of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and other diseases. Nutritional anthropometry is widely recognized as the measurements used to assess either physical growth or body composition. Some infections diseases suffer direct influence of anthropometric parameters and nutritional status, and also they may cause loss of appetite, malabsorption, increased catabolism that could exacerbate the malnutrition and further impaired immunity development. Several evidences indicate that chronic heavy infections represent a hidden risk factor for anemia in infants, growth retardation, delayed motor development, poor cognitive abilities and reduced school performance. Moreover, several studies suggest that the association between polyparasitism and malnutrition could be due either to direct effect of intestinal parasites on growth or to the effect of undernourishment on the immune response leading to an increased susceptibility to infection. Although the malnutrition has been classically associated with failure of immune response to eliminate the infectious agents due to increased frequency or sometimes severity of infections, children suffering several infections can die even with a very good nutritional appearance. In this chapter the authors have made some considerations about the association between parasitic and infectious diseases and alterations on anthropometric parameters.


Visceral Leishmaniasis Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Anthropometric Parameter Ascaris Lumbricoides Leprosy Patient 



Bacillus Calmette-Guerin


Body mass index

CD4 T cells

Helper T cell MHC II restricted


Cutaneous leishmaniasis


C-reactive protein




Height-for-age Z score


Human Immunodeficiency Virus




IGF binding-protein 3


Insulin-like growth factor






Mucosal leishmaniasis


Mid-upper arm circumference


Mid-upper arm circumference for age


Peripheral blood mononuclear cells




Helper T lymphocyte type 1


Tumor necrosis factor-alpha


Visceral leishmaniasis




Weight-for-age Z score




Weight-for-height Z score


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pedro R. T. Romão
  • Francisco Martins Teixeira
  • Taysa Ribeiro Schalcher
  • Marta Chagas Monteiro
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Pharmacy, Laboratory of Clinical Microbiology and ImmunologyFederal University of Pará/UFPA, Brazil, Rua Augusto Correia SNBelémBrazil

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