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Effect of Helicobacter pylori infection on growth trajectories in young Ethiopian children: a longitudinal study

Taye, Bineyam; Enquselassie, Fikre; Tsegaye, Aster; Amberbir, Alemayehu; Medhin, Girmay; Fogarty, Andrew; Robinson, Karen; Davey, Gail


Bineyam Taye

Fikre Enquselassie

Aster Tsegaye

Alemayehu Amberbir

Girmay Medhin

Clinical Associate Professor & Reader in Clinical Epidemiology

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Professor in Gastrointestinal Infection and Immunity

Gail Davey


Helicobacter pylori infection has been associated with early childhood growth impairment in high- and middle-income countries; however, few studies have examined this relationship within low-income countries or have used a longitudinal design. The possible effects of H. pylori infection on growth trajectories were examined in a cohort of young Ethiopian children.
In 2011/12, 856 children (85.1% of the 1006 original singletons in a population-based birth cohort) were followed up at age 6.5 years. An interviewer-led questionnaire administered to mothers provided information on demographic and lifestyle variables. Height and weight were measured twice, and the average of the two measurements was used. Exposure to H. pylori infection was assessed using a rapid H. pylori stool antigen test. The independent associations of positive H. pylori infection status (measured at ages 3 and 6.5 years) with baseline height and weight (age 3 years) and height and weight growth trajectory (from age 3 to 6.5 years) were modelled using hierarchical linear models.
At baseline (age 3 years), the children's mean height was 85.7 cm and their mean weight was 11.9 kg. They gained height at a mean rate of 8.7 cm/year, and weight at a mean rate of 1.76 kg/year. H. pylori infection was associated with lower baseline measurements and linear height trajectory (β = −0.74 cm and −0.79 cm/year, respectively), after controlling for demographics and markers of socio-economic status. However, the positive coefficient was associated with quadratic growth in height among H. pylori-infected children (β = 0.28, 95% confidence interval 0.07 to 0.49, p < 0.01), and indicated an increase in height trajectory as the child increased in age. A non-significant difference in baseline and trajectory of weight was observed between H. pylori-infected and non-infected children.
These findings add to the growing body of evidence supporting that H. pylori infection is inversely associated with childhood growth trajectory, after controlling for a range of factors associated with reduced growth and H. pylori status. Further follow-up will be important to confirm possible catch-up in height trajectory among H. pylori-infected children as they grow older.


Taye, B., Enquselassie, F., Tsegaye, A., Amberbir, A., Medhin, G., Fogarty, A., …Davey, G. (2016). Effect of Helicobacter pylori infection on growth trajectories in young Ethiopian children: a longitudinal study. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 50, 57-66.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 8, 2016
Online Publication Date Aug 12, 2016
Publication Date 2016-09
Deposit Date Oct 15, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 15, 2018
Journal International Journal of Infectious Diseases
Print ISSN 1201-9712
Electronic ISSN 1878-3511
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 50
Pages 57-66
Keywords Microbiology (medical); Infectious Diseases; General Medicine
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Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Effect of Helicobacter pylori infection on growth trajectories in young Ethiopian children: a longitudinal study; Journal Title: International Journal of Infectious Diseases; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of International Society for Infectious Diseases.


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