Interactions of Diarrhea and Malnutrition

Mechanisms and Interventions
  • Lincoln C. Chen


The diarrheal diseases are a major cause of death in all poor societies. Typically, these populations have a youthful age structure, with nearly half under 15 years of age and one-sixth under age 5.1 Yet over half of all deaths occur in children under 5 years, the age group at highest risk for diarrhea and malnutrition.2,3 In Latin America, for example, diarrhea was found to be by far the major infectious cause of death in children below age 5, and malnutrition was noted to be a direct or underlying cause of most deaths.3 In-depth longitudinal surveillance in rural Bangladesh has shown diarrhea to be responsible for 28.6% of all deaths in children under 5. Diarrhea accounted for 13.7% of all infant deaths, while among children 1 to 4 years of age, diarrhea was responsible for 44%.2


Diarrheal Disease Acute Diarrhea Childhood Diarrhea Tropical Sprue Cholera Vaccine 
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Copyright information

© The United Nations University 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lincoln C. Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.New Delhi Field OfficeThe Ford FoundationNew DelhiIndia

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