BACKGROUND - A new Helicobacter pylori infection affects growth velocity negatively, and clearing the infection produces a small significant rebound, but it is not known whether height and weight in children are impacted over the long term.
METHODS - We investigated 295 school-age children followed in 2 cohorts, treated (150) and untreated (145), from 2004 for 3.7 years with 1105 child-years of observation. Follow-up intervals were 3 months for anthropometry measurements and 6 months for H. pylori status ascertained by urea breath test. Height in centimeters and weight in kilograms were analyzed using growth models.
RESULTS - A multivariate mixed model that adjusted for age, sex, father's education, and number of siblings found no significant differences in height or weight at baseline by H. pylori status. The same model showed a significant impact of clearing H. pylori across time, with increasing significant differences in average height and weight as the follow-up progressed.
CONCLUSIONS - Children who were always negative or who cleared the infection grew significantly faster than those who stayed positive after adjusting for other covariates. This study suggests that school-age children's growth benefits from being treated for H. pylori infection.