Despite global efforts to reduce childhood undernutrition, current interventions have had little impact on stunting and wasting, and the mechanisms underlying growth faltering are poorly understood. There is a clear need to distinguish populations of children most likely to benefit from any given intervention and to develop tools to monitor response to therapy prior to the development of morbid sequelae. In resource-limited settings, environmental enteric dysfunction (EED) is common among children, contributing to malnutrition and increasing childhood morbidity and mortality risk. In addition to EED, early alterations in the gut microbiota can adversely affect growth through nutrient malabsorption, altered metabolism, gut inflammation, and dysregulation of the growth hormone axis. We examined the evidence linking EED and the gut microbiome to growth faltering and explored novel biomarkers to identify subgroups of children at risk of malnutrition due to underlying pathology. These and other biomarkers could be used to identify specific groups of children at risk of malnutrition and monitor response to targeted interventions.
- Environmental enteric dysfunction
- Gut microbiome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism