Advances in Nutrition
Child Development; Fetal Development
The recent publication of fetal growth and gestational age-specific growth standards by the International Fetal and Newborn Growth Consortium for the 21st Century Project and the previous publication by the WHO of infant and young child growth standards based on the WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study enable evaluations of growth from ∼9 wk gestation to 5 y. The most important features of these projects are the prescriptive approach used for subject selection and the rigorous testing of the assertion that growth is very similar among geographically and ethnically diverse nonisolated populations when health, nutrition, and other care needs are met and the environment imposes minimal constraints on growth. Both studies documented that with adequate controls, the principal source of variability in growth during gestation and early childhood resides among individuals. Study sites contributed much less to observed variability. The agreement between anthropometric measurements common to both studies also is noteworthy. Jointly, these studies provide for the first time, to my knowledge, a conceptually consistent basis for worldwide and localized assessments and comparisons of growth performance in early life. This is an important contribution to improving the health care of children across key periods of growth and development, especially given the appropriate interest in pursuing "optimal" health in the "first 1000 d," i.e., the period covering fertilization/implantation, gestation, and postnatal life to 2 y of age.
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Garza, C. (2015). Fetal, neonatal, infant, and child international growth standards: an unprecedented opportunity for an integrated approach to assess growth and development.. Advances in Nutrition, 6 (4). http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/an.114.008128