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[afro-nets] Children's growth

  • From: Vern Weitzel <vern.weitzel@undp.org>
  • Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2006 12:50:48 +0700

Children's growth is influenced more by environmental factors
than genetics up to the age of five

GENEVA (Reuters) - Children's growth is influenced more by envi-
ronmental factors than genetics up to the age of five, the World
Health Organization said on Thursday.

The United Nations agency found that, despite differences among
individual children, the average potential size of youngsters
worldwide lies in a narrow range.

"Children from India, Norway and Brazil all show similar growth
patterns when provided healthy growth conditions in early life,"
the WHO said in issuing its new child growth standards.

"Differences in children's growth to age five are more influ-
enced by nutrition, feeding practices, environment, and health-
care than genetics or ethnicity," it said.

To compile the global study, researchers tracked more than 8,000
children in Brazil, Ghana, India, Norway, Oman, and the United
States from birth to age five.

Children selected were deemed to live in "an optimal environment
for proper growth," where infants are breastfed and young chil-
dren have access to good nutrition and quality health care, and
mothers do not smoke.

The new WHO growth charts include universal guidance for parents
and health workers on healthy ranges of weight-for-age, height-
for-age, and weight-for-height.

It also includes six key motor development milestones for ac-
tivities like sitting, standing and walking.

For more information see: