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The World in Medicine
September 15, 2004

Child Growth Standards

JAMA. 2004;292(11):1294. doi:10.1001/jama.292.11.1294-d

The WHO is developing new growth standards for infants and young children to help health workers make more accurate estimates of malnutrition. The hope is that improved benchmarks will help identify children as soon as they begin to show signs of becoming underweight or overweight, before the condition becomes severe. The new standards will be linked not only to height and weight but also to motor development assessments.

The project is needed because of inadequacies in the current international reference, which fails to reflect physiological growth, said Mercedes de Onis, MD, PhD, of the WHO's Department of Nutrition and Development.