Simeon, Donald T.; Grantham McGregor, Sally M.; Walker, Susan P.; Powell, Christine A.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Tropical Metabolism Research Unit
Effects of a hurricane on growth and morbidity in children from low-income families in Kingston, Jamaica
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Date of Publication
Reports on the effects of a hurricane on children's health and nutritional status in which data were available preceeding and following the event. When Hurricane Gilbert struck Jamaica in 1988, a longitudinal study was in progress in which children's weights and heights were recorded every 2 months and their morbidity histories taken every week. The investigation included 127 stunted (low height-for-age) and 32 non-stunted children aged 23-44 months, living in poor areas of Kingston. The data from the 4 months before and after the hurricane were compared. There was an increase in the occurrence of respiratory symptoms including rapid or difficult breathing (P 0.04), coughs (P 0.001) and nasal discharges (P 0.001) during the first 2-month period after the hurricane. Howerver there was no significant effect on the occurrence of diarrhoea and injuries. Deficits were also found in height gain (P 0.0001) during the same period. These adverse effects were found in spite of the large amount of food aid received and the aggressive health education programme implemented after the hurricane.....