Some indicators of nutritional status are associated with activity and exploration in infants at risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies.J Nutr 2009; 139(9):1751-7JN
Severe malnutrition, both protein-energy and micronutrient deficiency, results in decreased activity, but the results regarding mild-to-moderate malnutrition are equivocal. Our objective in this investigation was to describe the activity and exploratory behavior of Mexican infants and describe the relationship among nutritional status, activity, and exploration in this population at high risk for mild-to-moderate micronutrient deficiency, but at low risk for severe malnutrition. The participants were infants, 4-12 mo old, of low socioeconomic status from 3 states in southern Mexico. We measured anthropometrics using standard techniques. We measured hemoglobin (Hb) concentration in the field and adjusted values for altitude before analysis. We measured activity and exploration by direct observation during 15 min of individual play in a novel environment. Cluster analysis generated mutually exclusive activity clusters and exploration clusters based on patterns of bodily movement and exploratory behavior, respectively. We categorized the clusters as higher or lower activity or higher or lower exploration. A higher Hb concentration and height-for-age Z-score (HAZ) significantly increased the odds of being in the high-activity cluster. Iron deficiency, stunting, and wasting significantly decreased the odds of being in the high-activity cluster. Higher HAZ and weight-for-age Z-score significantly increased the odds of being in a higher exploration cluster. In Mexican infants at risk for mild-to-moderate micronutrient deficiency but at low risk of severe malnutrition, some indicators of nutritional status were related to increased activity and exploration.