From the abstract of the paper "Stunting rates in infants and toddlers born in metropolitan Quetzaltenango, Guatemala," (Nutrition, April 2013) by Reurings el al.:
Guatemala has the highest prevalence of stunting (54% of children under age 5 years) in the Americas and the fifth highest in the world. The aim of this study was to describe the stunting prevalence and the association with early feeding practices, morbidity patterns, and socioeconomic status (SES) in a sample of infants and toddlers from urban Quetzaltenango.
We recruited 299 children (149 boys), ages 6–23 mo from two public health clinics in metropolitan Quetzaltenango. Data on SES, early feeding practices, and morbidity were collected by means of a single face-to-face interview. Recumbent spine length was measured according to standardized procedures and height-for-age (HAZ) z-scores were calculated. HAZ <−2 SD of the World Health Organization's 2006 Growth Standards was considered stunting. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to examine determinants of stunting.
The overall mean HAZ z-score was −1.89 ± 1.11 and 135 (45%) children were stunted. The results of the crude odds ratios showed that place of interview (suburban), being male, being ages 13–18 mo, being born at home, having a mother with a low level of education, being of Mayan (indigenous) ethnicity, having a mother with short stature, and having ever received iron supplementation were strongly and significantly (P < 0.05) associated with stunting. None of the other variables, such as supplement use and morbidity rates, contributed to the predictive model. We did not observe an association between early feeding practices or morbidity and stunting.
The stunting prevalence exceeds the cut-off of 40% stunting, indicating a community with a high level of malnutrition.