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Excessive Diarrhea Delays Childrens’ Development

A study by Norwegian researchers in New Delhi indicates that young children suffering frequent bouts of diarrhea experience developmental delays compared to healthy children, according to a Science Nordic article.

“Incidences of diarrhea need to drop in order for children in India to develop optimally. Brain development can be affected,” says psychologist Ingrid Kvestad. “Child diarrhea in low-income countries is an immense problem that raises the risk that children’s lives will be less adequate.”

Kvestad is a doctoral student at the University of Bergen’s Institute of Psychology. She also works at the research company Uni Research Health.

She charted the progress of 422 children in New Delhi during a six-month period in 2011. The children were aged six months to two-and-a-half years old. The researchers investigated the link between the number of days each of the children had diarrhea and the child’s growth. They compared this to the child’s developmen, notes Science Nordic.

Such development was assessed using Ages & Stages Questionnaires® (ASQ-3). This is a screening tool that reveals a child’s communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving and personal-social skills.

Kvestad was surprised by how clear the results were.

“Among other things, the study’s findings show that the more days these children had diarrhea, the lower their scores in development,” says Kvestad.

 On average each child had such gastrointestinal troubles 6.6 days in the course of the six month period of the study. About 14 percent had no such problems during this interval, whereas a little over half suffered diarrhea from one to seven days. During these six months, nearly a third of the children had the problem from eight to 49 days.

 Source: Science Nordic