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Dietary vitamin A intake and the incidence of diarrhea and respiratory infection among Sudanese children.

Fawzi WW; Herrera MG; Willett WC; Nestel P; el Amin A; Mohamed KA
Journal of Nutrition 1995 May;125(5):1211-21

The relationship of vitamin A deficiency and child survival has been documented in a number of studies but not in others, yet the relationship of vitamin A with child morbidity remains controversial. We prospectively examined the relationship of dietary vitamin A intake and the incidences of diarrhea and respiratory infection among 28,753 Sudanese children between the ages of 6 mo and 6 y. Total dietary vitamin A intake was strongly and inversely associated with the risk of diarrhea (multivariate risk in top relative to bottom quintile = 0.58, 95% confidence interval = 0.47-0.72); we also observed a strong inverse association with the risk of having cough and fever (0.60, 0.45-0.81). On the other hand, we noted a significantly positive association of dietary vitamin A intake and incidence of cough alone (1.69, 1.52-1.88), a sign that may be assocsated with a healthy respiratory epithelium. Vitamin A intake was also negatively associated with the risk of measles. These prospective data emphasize the importance of adequate dietary vitamin A intake to protect the health of children in developing countries.

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