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Relationship between serum aflatoxin concentrations and the nutritional status of children aged 6-24 months from Zambia

In Zambia, mothers/caregivers feed their children cereal-based complementary foods that are prone to aflatoxin contamination. This study evaluated the relationship between exposure to aflatoxins and the nutritional status of young children. It covered 400 mothers with children aged 6–24 months. Their nutritional status assessed by measuring weight and height using standard procedures. Serum samples analysed for aflatoxin B1-lysine (AFB1-lys), a reliable biomarker of aflatoxin exposure. Child sickness and age, exposure to aflatoxin in foods, and albumin-normalised AFB1-lys level were found to be significantly (p < .05) associated with child stunting except for child age that was not significant at p = .05. Children with an increase in the blood serum aflatoxin B1 lysine adduct are more likely to be stunted. These results have shown that dietary exposure to aflatoxin could lead to an increase in serum aflatoxin concentrations, both of which are associated with stunting.