Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mother's Depression Linked to Children's Growth

A mother’s depression is significantly associated with poor growth in her children, said researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In a meta-analysis of 17 studies conducted in developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, Pamela Surkan, Ph.D, Sc.D., and colleagues, found that the odds ratio for an association between maternal depression and underweight or stunted-growth children was about 1.5. The relationship was even stronger when the analysis was limited to long-term studies, said the researchers in the July Bulletin of the World Health Organization.

Several mechanisms might influence how the mother’s depression affects children’s growth, but other studies have shown that the disorder is treatable, even in developing countries. “[A] reduction in the incidence of maternal depressive symptoms in developing countries would not only have a beneficial effect on mothers, but would also improve child growth substantially, and this in turn could influence the children’s future health, development, and economic status,” concluded the researchers.

Read more about maternal depression and its effects on children in Psychiatric News at

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