Severe deficits in ponderal and linear growth are problems of major public health significance among children in developing countries. We prospectively examined the association of dietary vitamin A intake with child growth among 28,740 Sudanese children ages 6–72 months. At baseline and at each 6-month visit, all subjects were weighed and measured. Dietary vitamin A intake during the prior 24 hours was assessed using recall of vitamin A-containing foods. Dietary vitamin A intake was associated with attained height and weight after controlling for age, sex, morbidity, and socioeconomic variables. Compared with children in the bottom quintile of intake, those in the top quintile were 11 mm taller [95% confidence interval (CI) = 8–13] and 237 gm heavier (95% CI = 153–320). Higher dietary vitamin A intake was also associated with reduced risk of stunting [relative risk (RR) for 5th vs 1st quintile = 0.7; 95% CI = 0.5–0.9] and wasting (RR = 0.7; 95% CI = 0.5–0.9). Adequate intake of foods containing vitamin A may improve child growth where vitamin A deficiency prevails, but this relation may not be due to vitamin A per se.
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