European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
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September 2001, Volume 55, Number 9, Pages 801-804
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Original Communication
An association between chronic undernutrition and educational test scores in Vietnamese children
Partnership for Child Developmenta

Correspondence to: A Hall, Helen Keller International, PO Box 6066, Gulshan, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh. E-mail:

aA Hall1*, LNB Khanh2, TH Son2, NQ Dung2, RG Lansdown1,3, DT Dat2, NT Hanh2, H Moestue1, HH Khoi2, DAP Bundy1

1Partnership for Child Development, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College School of Medicine, London, UK; 2National Institute of Nutrition, Hanoi, Vietnam; 3Centre for International Child Health, Institute of Child Health, London, UK

Guarantor: A Hall.

Contributors: AH designed the study with DAPB, coordinated the fieldwork, contributed to the analysis, and revised the paper; LNBK, THS, NQD and HHK undertook the fieldwork and contributed to the paper; RGL developed the educational tests in Vietnam with DTD and NTH and contributed to the paper; and HM did the statistical analysis and drafted the paper.


Objective: To examine the association between results of educational tests and the anthropometric status of schoolchildren.

Design: Cross-sectional data collected during the baseline survey of a randomised trial.

Setting: Eighty-one primary schools in three districts of northern Vietnam.

Subjects: A total of 3055 schoolchildren enrolled in class 3 and born in 1990.

Main outcome measures: Tests of mathematics and Vietnamese language developed not to show floor or ceiling effects, and Z-scores of height-for-age, weight-for-age and weight-for-height.

Results: After controlling for age, sex, district and school the results of test scores in both mathematics and Vietnamese were significantly negatively correlated with Z-scores of height-for-age (P<0.001) and weight-for-age (P<0.001), but not with weight-for-height (P=0.75).

Conclusions: A cross-sectional negative association was observed in Vietnamese primary school children between indicators of chronic undernutrition and tests of educational achievement.

Sponsorship: The study was funded by donors to the Partnership for Child Development including the Rockefeller Foundation and the World Bank.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2001) 55, 801-804


Vietnam; stunting; underweight; schoolchildren; educational tests

September 2001, Volume 55, Number 9, Pages 801-804
Table of contents    Previous  Abstract  Next   Article  PDF