Author(s): Mohammad MA, Hussein L, Coward A, Jackson SJ
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: The study aim was to assess the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in Egyptian schoolchildren and its effect on growth parameters. DESIGN: A cross-sectional population-based study was conducted among 286 schoolchildren (168 boys and 118 girls), with a mean age of 11.04 +/- 0.19 years, to determine the prevalence of H. pylori. The presence of the bacterium was assessed using the [13C]urea breath test. Relevant personal and socio-economic data on risk factors for infection were collected. Height and weight were analysed in relation to H. pylori infection. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of H. pylori infection was 72.38\%. Attending school in a socially deprived area and residing in an overcrowded home were the major risk factors for infection. Differences between infected and non-infected children were significant with regard to body weight and height (weight: 39.5 +/- 1.0 vs. 44.6 +/- 1.8 kg, P = 0.05; height: 139.9 +/- 1.3 vs. 144.2 +/- 2.1 cm; P = 0.009). The number of children (both boys and girls) falling below the 5th percentile of height-for-age was significantly higher in infected than non-infected children (P = 001), similarly for Z-scores for height-for-age below -2.0 (P = 0.003). CONCLUSION: The results demonstrate not only that the prevalence of H. pylori infection is extremely high among Egyptian schoolchildren, but also that the adverse effects of the infection reach far beyond the stomach. Evidence of the burden of infection on growth failure is presented.
This article was published in Public Health Nutr
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals