Pattern of head growth and nutritional status of microcephalic infants at early postnatal assessment in a low-income country

  • BO Olusanya
Keywords: Developing country, early detection, head circumference, postnatal examination, undernutrition


Objective: To determine the pattern of head growth and the early postnatal nutritional status of microcephalic infants in a low-income country.
Materials and Methods: A cohort study in Lagos, Nigeria in which the head growth of full-term singletons within the first postnatal check-up at 6-8weeks was evaluated using the latest World Health Organization (WHO)’s Child Growth Standards (WHO-CGS) for head circumference. Nutritional status of microcephalic infants at follow-up was also determined after adjustments for potential confounders.
Results: Of the 452 infants (male: 227) enrolled, microcephalic infants were 32 (7.1%) at birth and 34 (7.5%) at followup. However, while 401 (88.7%) remained normocephalic and 15 (3.3%) remained microcephalic at follow-up, 19 (4.2%) became microcephalic and 17 (3.8%) became normocephalic. Microcephalic infants were significantly underweight (P < 0.001), stunted (P < 0.001) and wasted (P < 0.001) at follow-up.
Conclusions: Regardless of their status at birth, microcephalic infants at 6-8weeks are likely to be undernourished by all nutritional indices suggesting that head circumference may serve as a complementary or default screening tool for early detection of undernourished infants in resource-constrained settings.

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eISSN: 1119-3077