Helicobacter pylori Infection in Early Childhood and Growth at School Age

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Background: There are conflicting results regarding the role of H. pylori in children's growth. We examined differences in growth indices at school age according to H. pylori infection acquisition in preschool age. Materials and Methods: A prospective study was undertaken between 2004 and 2009, in which of healthy children (N = 139, ages 3-5 years at baseline) were tested for the presence of H. pylori antigen in their stool using enzyme-linked immunoassay and followed-up till age 6-9 years (median follow-up time 45 months). Height, weight, and hemoglobin levels were measured, and socioeconomic data were obtained. Z scores of height for age, weight for age, and body mass index for age at baseline and follow-up were calculated using the 2000 Center for Disease Control and Prevention growth reference curves. Growth velocity (cm/month) between preschool and school age was compared between H. pylori-infected and uninfected children using mixed models. Results: Fifty-three percent of the children were H. pylori positive at baseline, and all except one child tested positive at follow-up. The adjusted mean Z score of height for age at follow-up was significantly lower among H. pylori-infected children than uninfected ones: 0.15 (95% confidence intervals (CIs) 0.02, 0.29) and 0.45 (95% CI 0.29, 0.60), respectively (p = .002). Growth velocity was slower in the former group -0.0264 cm/month (95% CI -0.047, -0.005) (p = .014), after adjusting for baseline height and age. H. pylori infection was not associated with body weight. Conclusions: Helicobacter pylori infection acquired in early childhood may have long-term adverse influence on linear growth at school age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-417
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Childhood infection
  • Children's growth
  • Epidemiology
  • Follow-up
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Stool antigen detection


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