Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(4), 1174-1205; doi:10.3390/ijerph8041174
Review

Malnutrition and Gastrointestinal and Respiratory Infections in Children: A Public Health Problem

Received: 12 February 2011; in revised form: 7 April 2011 / Accepted: 11 April 2011 / Published: 18 April 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Malnutrition and Public Health)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Infectious disease is the major cause of morbidity and mortality in developing countries, particularly in children. Increasing evidence suggests that protein-calorie malnutrition is the underlying reason for the increased susceptibility to infections observed in these areas. Moreover, certain infectious diseases also cause malnutrition, which can result in a vicious cycle. Malnutrition and bacterial gastrointestinal and respiratory infections represent a serious public health problem. The increased incidence and severity of infections in malnourished children is largely due to the deterioration of immune function; limited production and/or diminished functional capacity of all cellular components of the immune system have been reported in malnutrition. In this review, we analyze the cyclical relationship between malnutrition, immune response dysfunction, increased susceptibility to infectious disease, and metabolic responses that further alter nutritional status. The consequences of malnutrition are diverse and included: increased susceptibility to infection, impaired child development, increased mortality rate and individuals who come to function in suboptimal ways.
Keywords: gastrointestinal infections; malnutrition; respiratory infections; malnourished children; immune response dysfunction
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rodríguez, L.; Cervantes, E.; Ortiz, R. Malnutrition and Gastrointestinal and Respiratory Infections in Children: A Public Health Problem. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8, 1174-1205.

AMA Style

Rodríguez L, Cervantes E, Ortiz R. Malnutrition and Gastrointestinal and Respiratory Infections in Children: A Public Health Problem. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2011; 8(4):1174-1205.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rodríguez, Leonor; Cervantes, Elsa; Ortiz, Rocío. 2011. "Malnutrition and Gastrointestinal and Respiratory Infections in Children: A Public Health Problem." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 8, no. 4: 1174-1205.

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