Five- to 7-year-old children with Helicobacter pylori infection are smaller than Helicobacter-negative children: a cross-sectional population-based study of 3,315 children.
Richter T., Richter T., List S., Müller DM., Deutscher J., Uhlig HH., Krumbiegel P., Herbarth O., Gutsmuths FJ., Kiess W.
OBJECTIVE: To test whether Helicobacter pylori-positive children are smaller and weigh less than H pylori-negative children. DESIGN: Cross-sectional population-based study. PARTICIPANTS: In 3,315 5-to 7-year-old preschool and school children, the putative influence of H pylori infection on growth was investigated. Standing height and weight were analyzed in relation to H pylori infection. The diagnosis of H pylori infection was established by 13C-urea-breath test. RESULTS: The prevalence of H pylori infection in boys was 7.2% (95% confidence interval, 5.9-8.9; n = 1,550) and in girls was 6.1% (95% confidence interval, 4.9-7.3; n = 1,552) H pylori-positive children were smaller than noninfected children (117.6 +/- 5.5 cm vs. 118.9 +/- 5.7 cm; P < 0.01). Although H pylori-positive boys were 2.06 cm smaller than H pylori-negative boys (117.4 +/- 5.6 cm vs. 119.5 +/- 5.7 cm; P < 0.001), the difference in girls was not significant (117.9 +/- 5.3 cm vs. 118.4 +/- 5.7 cm). When standing height was adjusted for age, the found differences were more pronounced. Differences between the infected and noninfected children with regard to body weight were not significant (22.4 +/- 4.0 kg vs. 22.1 +/- 4.0 kg), nor was there a significant difference with regard to body-mass index. However, boys with H pylori infection had a lower weight than noninfected boys (21.6 +/- 3.3 kg vs. 22.6 +/- 4.0 kg; P < 0.01), but in girls, these differences were not observed (22.2 +/- 4.0 vs. 22.8 +/- 4.6 kg, respectively). When weight was adjusted for age, H pylori -positive children also had a lower weight than H pylori -negative children because of the lower weight of boys. CONCLUSIONS: H pylori infection is associated with growth delay, growth retardation, or both in affected children.