World Health Organization releases new Child Growth StandardsStandards confirm that all children worldwide have the potential to grow the same [Archives:2006/944/Health]

May 8 2006

The World Health Organization (WHO) released recently New international Child Growth Standards for infants and young children. Such standers, according to WHO provide evidence and guidance for the first time about how every child in the world should grow.

The standards confirm that children born anywhere in the world and given the optimum start in life have the potential to develop to within the same range of height and weight. Naturally there are individual differences among children, but across large populations, regionally and globally, the average growth is remarkably similar. For example, children from India, Norway and Brazil all show similar growth patterns when provided healthy growth conditions in early life. The new standards prove that differences in children's growth to age five are more influenced by nutrition, feeding practices, environment, and healthcare than genetics or ethnicity.

With these new standards, parents, doctors, policymakers and child advocates will know when the nutrition and healthcare needs of children are not being met. Under-nutrition, overweight and obesity, and other growth-related conditions can then be detected and addressed at an early stage.

“The WHO Child Growth Standards provide new means to support every child to get the best chance to develop in the most important formative years