HSPH study: Children born to shorter mothers 70% more likely to die before 5 years

Journal of the American Medical AssociationAccording to the findings of a study by the researchers from HSPH - Harvard School of Public Health -, the height of the mother has a significant bearing on the health of a child. The study said that children born to women shorter than 4'9" are 70 percent more likely to die, mostly before attaining the age of five.

The study, recently published in the `Journal of the American Medical Association,' April 22 issue, was conducted by Dr SV Subramanian, from HSPH's department of society, human development and health, and his two colleagues - University of Massachusetts' Leland Ackerson, and University of Bristol's George Davey Smith.

Though the scientists have not been able to underline the exact reason behind the association between shorter mothers and well-being of their children, it can be safely believed that the most apparent biological link is the size of a woman's uterus - a smaller uterus can lead to increased complications during pregnancy, thereby affecting the health of the child.

Talking about the effect of maternal height on a child, lead researcher Subramanian said that even a 1 cm increase in maternal height can decrease the risk of child mortality by 2 percent; risk of child being underweight by 3 percent.

Subramanian said: "Our findings suggest the presence of inter-generational transfer of poor health from mother to offspring."