Infectious Diseases and Growth: Chinese Perspectives

  • Huan Zhou
  • Ryutaro Ohtsuka
  • Qiaolan Liu
  • Hongyu Zhou
  • Sean Robert Dickson


The growth pattern of Chinese children has been rapidly improving in recent decades, primarily reflecting their nutritional status. This growth is represented by increases in childhood height and weight, advanced age at puberty, and increased adult height. However, both overweight/obesity and malnutrition have become problems. The former prevails in urban areas, while the latter remains serious in rural areas in association with infectious diseases. In this chapter, Chinese perspectives on the effects of infectious diseases on growth in relation to nutrition and health are presented. Schistosomiasis infection has reduced height, weight, body mass index, and skinfolds of children in the area along the Yangtze River, and this infection becomes more severe in cases of malnutrition. Ascariasis and pinworm infection, which are also common in rural areas, have caused growth retardation, represented by reduced height, weight, and skinfolds as well as hemoglobin concentration. In addition to parasitic infections, bacterial/viral infections have also been common in rural areas. Helicobacter pylori infection is chronically persistent and seriously affects the height of children in prepubescent and adolescent stages. Furthermore, chronic infectious diarrhea, mostly caused by viral or bacterial infection, has impeded normal growth of weight and height, and repeated respiratory tract infection has not only affected physical development of children but also raised child mortality in China. In conclusion, it is necessary to clarify the causal relations between growth of Chinese children, especially those in rural areas, and parasitic and bacterial/viral infections for their healthy survival.


Pylorus Infection Zinc Deficiency Adult Height Chinese Child Chronic Diarrhea 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


A. lumbricoides

Ascaris lumbricoides


Body mass index


Body mass index-for-age Z-score


Chronic diarrhea diseases


Height-for-age Z-score,

H. pylori

Helicobacter pylori


Mid-upper arm circumference-for-age Z-score


Repeated respiratory tract infection

S. japonicum

Schistosoma japonicum


Total energy intake


Weight-for-age Z-score


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huan Zhou
    • 1
  • Ryutaro Ohtsuka
    • 2
  • Qiaolan Liu
    • 1
  • Hongyu Zhou
    • 1
  • Sean Robert Dickson
    • 3
  1. 1.West China School of Public HealthSichuan UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.Japan Wildlife Research CenterTokyoJapan
  3. 3.School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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