Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

WHO to Develop New Child Growth Standards

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

WHO to Develop New Child Growth Standards

Article excerpt

WHO received a US$ 6.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation over the next six years to develop a new and more effective set of growth standards to help identify early signs of conditions like under-nutrition or obesity in children.

The project announced on 4 August will be carried out jointly with the United Nations University's Food and Nutrition Program.

At present, 99 countries are using the traditional growth standards, but the project aims to encourage these to switch to the new set by 2010.

Traditional growth references were established through studies of representative children from selected populations.

The new standards set will be based on children who fulfilled a number of criteria. For example, they must have been breastfed by non-smoker mothers, and they must receive a high standard of health care.

"This way they can reach their best growth potential because they have followed health recommendations known to be associated with the best health outcomes," said Dr Denise Costa Coitinho, Director of WHO's Nutrition for Health and Development unit. …

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