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In 1996 one of the authors (CTM) was the leading author of a clinically based case–control study conducted in Brazil, which investigated the association between child stunting and maternal common mental disorders (MCMD).1 A positive association (OR 2.8; 95% CI 1.2 to 6.9) was found in that case. Similar methods and results have been reported in another study conducted in Pakistan (OR 3.9; 95% CI 1.95 to7.86).2
Harpham et al3 were the first to test this association through population surveys in a multicentre study. They found significant positive associations between child stunting and MCMD in two out of four countries, namely India (OR 1.4; 95% CI 1.2 to 1.6) and Vietnam (OR 1.4; 95% CI 1.1 to 1.8). In Peru and Ethiopia, there was no significant association. There was congruence in the results of clinical and population-based studies.
We conducted a …