Helicobacter pylori infection and the effect on growth in a cohort of children in the US/Mexico border

Flor Puentes, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is an S-shaped or curved gram-negative bacterium that is mostly found in the human stomach. H. pylori causes gastritis in adults and children, which can lead to gastric ulcers or risk of cancer. Transmission of this bacterial infection remains to be unknown but is mostly acquired during childhood. Little is known about the effect H. pylori has on growth in children. Although some studies have reported that H. pylori is associated with subnormal growth, the association of H. pylori with growth retardation and malnutrition is poorly described. Data from this study comes from The Pasitos Cohort Study which draws its population from three border communities which include Socorro and San Elizario in Texas, as well as Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Birth documentation was obtained for 803 infants and 472 entered follow-up. This cohort study allowed us to assess the growth of children from 6 months to the seventh anniversary, and describe the prevalence of underweight, short stature and overweight in the study population. We also tested the hypothesis that children in the Pasitos Cohort Study who were ever infected with H. pylori show an increased risk of growth retardation or malnutrition at 66 months of age. Using the 2000 CDC Growth Reference, we found that the mean BMI of the study population increased as children grew older, while the mean of their height for age decreased slightly. The proportion of children who were classified as of short stature was under 5%, while those considered underweight were less than 10% at selected six-months of age intervals. Using the subset of children who were 66 months of age we found that the risk of underweight was higher among those who ever tested positive for H. pylori infection using the urea breath test; however, due to small numbers of children with 'wasting' this difference was not statistically significant. Moreover, since the six cases of under weight occurred among children of low socio-economic status we could not rule out potential confounding. The risk of developing short stature was not different among those ever infected and those who never tested positive for H. pylori infection.

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Recommended Citation

Puentes, Flor, "Helicobacter pylori infection and the effect on growth in a cohort of children in the US/Mexico border" (2007). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1447162.