The stunting puzzle: what role do helminths play?

16 Jun 2022, 12:00 to 13:00

Despite considerable global efforts over the past 20 years, childhood stunting levels globally remain unacceptably high. In 2021, worldwide, 149.2 million children under five years of age were stunted. The causes of stunting are complex and still largely unknown.

Helminths are worm-like parasites that survive by feeding on a living host to gain nourishment and protection. They are one of the leading causes of morbidity in low- and middle-income countries. Their infection can cause physical and nutritional impairment in young children. However, their actual role in childhood stunting remains unclear.

In this webinar, the team from UKRI GCRF action against stunting presents their systematic review. They researched the current evidence to help support or refute the hypothesis that helminths cause physical stunting in children.

Join the webinar on Thursday 16 June 2022, 12 – 1 pm.

Register here



  • Chair: Prof Joanne Webster, Lead of the Parasitology workstream of the Hub.  She is the Chair of Parasitic Diseases at the Royal Veterinary College, Univeristy of London and has been elected as a Fellow of The Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) for her exceptional contributions to the advancement of biomedical and health research, combining fundamental research with direct disease control activities across both humans and animals. Twitter: @JoWebster_Group
  • Dr Eleanor Raj, veterinary surgeon with a master’s in One Health. She is interested in human-animal-ecosystem interactions, especially in the context of neglected tropical diseases (NTD’s), zoonoses, food systems and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). She is an advocate for multidisciplinary teams, evidence-based policies and holistic approaches to health. She currently combines research, consultancy and clinical work.
  • Isobel Litton Gabain, Bloomsbury funded PhD student at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) department of Pathobiology and Population Sciences, with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) acting as a partner institution. She is supervised by Professor Joanne Webster, Dr Barbara Haesler and Dr James Rudge.  Isobel holds a strong interest in inter- and multi-disciplinary One Health research, particularly in the context of controlling soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis. Her PhD research focuses on the question: Do infections (helminthic parasites or food-borne pathogens) cause childhood stunting? Her research will assist in elucidating the synergies, interactions, relative strengths, and directionality between specific key proposed drivers of stunting, with a focus on the parasites and pathogens of mother and infant, and their direct and indirect impact on health. Isobel holds an MSc in One Health, a programme delivered jointly by the RVC and the LSHTM, and a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol. Twitter: @IsobelGabain