Meeks-Gardner, Julie; Walker, Susan P.; Chang, Susan M.; Vutchkov, Mitko K.; Lalor, Gerald C.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Tropical Medicine Research Institute
Undernutrition and elevated blood lead levels: effects on psychomotor development among Jamaican children
Public health nutrition
Date of Publication
We examined whether or not the effect of elevated blood lead levels on children's psychomotor development was modified by their nutritional status. Anthropometry, developmental quotients (DQs), blood lead levels and haemoglobin were measured in lead exposed and unexposed children with different levels of nutritional status. Social background and maternal height and verbal intelligence were also measured. Testers, anthropometrists and interviewers established reliabilities with a trainer before the study began. Cohort group were children from two suburban areas in Kingston, Jamaica. All measurements on the children were carried out at a research unit. Social background and maternal measurements were carried out at the children's homes. The exposed group comprised 58 children (3-6 years) attending the same preschool which was situated in a lead contaminated environment. The unexposed group comprised 53 children attending a nearby preschool without lead contamination. The exposed children had significantly higher blood lead levels and lower DQs, and their homes had poorer facilities than the unexposed children. The deficit in DQ was greater (10.6 points) among children with weight for height less than -1 SD (National Center for Health Statistics references) than among better nourished children (2 points). Undernourished children exposed to lead may have more serious developmental deficits than better nourished children....