Determination of modifiable risk factors for length-for-age z-scores among resource-poor Indonesian infants

Aly Diana, Jillian J Haszard, Sri Y Irda Sari, Sofa Rahmannia, Annisha Fathonah, Wina Nur Sofiah, Haidar Rizqi, Raulia Haekal, Allissia Gilmartin, Michelle Harper, William Petri, Lisa Houghton, Rosalind Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


To reduce the burden of early-life linear growth faltering in low- and middle-income countries, interventions have focused on nutrition strategies, sometimes combined with water quality, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). However, even when combined, their effects on linear growth have been inconsistent. Here, we investigate potential predictors of length-for-age z-scores (LAZ) in a cohort of resource-poor rural Indonesian infants to inform the optimal strategies to reduce linear growth faltering. Apparently healthy rural breastfed Indonesian infants were randomly selected from birth registries at age 6 months (n = 230) and followed up at 9 (n = 202) and 12 (n = 190) months. Using maximum likelihood estimation, we examined longitudinal relationships among socio-demographic status, maternal height, infant sex, age, water source, sanitation facility, energy, protein, micronutrient intakes and biomarkers (serum ferritin, zinc, retinol binding protein (RBP), selenium-adjusted for inflammation), and α-1-acid glycoprotein (AGP) and C-reactive protein (CRP) (systemic inflammation biomarkers) at age 6 and 9 months on LAZ at age 9 and 12 months. Stunting (LAZ <-2) at 6, 9, and 12 months was 15.7%, 19.3%, and 22.6%, respectively. In the full model, the predictor variable at age 6 months that was most strongly associated with infant LAZ at 9 months was maternal height (0.18 (95% CI 0.03, 0.32) SD). At age 9 months, the strongest predictors of LAZ at 12 months were improved drinking water source (-0.40 (95% CI -0.65, -0.14) vs. not improved), elevated AGP compared to not elevated (0.26 (95%CI -0.06, 0.58), maternal height (0.16 (95% CI 0.02, 0.31) SD), sex (0.22 (95% CI -0.02,0.45) female vs. male), serum RBP (0.12 (95% CI -0.01, 0.25) SD), and protein intake (0.17 (95% CI -0.01, 0.35) SD). Health promotion that includes exclusive breastfeeding up to the first six months and follows microbial water quality guidelines to ensure water intake is always safe should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0247247
Pages (from-to)e0247247
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2 February
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


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