Skip Navigation


Global Projects


Protein Plus: Improving infant growth through diet and enteric health


Stunting a major public health problem in low-income countries. While dietary data from these settings indicate that protein intakes of infants are largely adequate, the extent to which protein requirements derived for healthy infants are relevant in the context of frequent infections remains an important research question. Recent investigations also point to widespread enteric pathogen carriage in the first year of life. Even without causing acute infections, enteric pathogens can compete for available nutrients or alter nutrient metabolism. Acting via environmental enteric dysfunction, they can alter both digestion—through loss of digestive enzymes—and absorption of nutrients. Microbial translocation may further alter specific amino acid requirements. Observational studies suggest that the combined effects of high pathogen burden and low protein intakes may be a major driver of poor linear growth in low-income country settings. The overall goal of the Protein Plus trial is to address growth faltering in infancy through a “proof of concept” package of interventions to: a) increase intake of high-quality protein, and b) control enteric pathogens. Combined, these interventions are hypothesized to ensure the efficient use of nutrients to support healthy infant growth.


  • Start Date: 
  • End Date: