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October 1977

Trajectories of Growth

Author Affiliations

Department of Paediatrics John Radcliffe Hospital Headington, Oxford OX3 9DU, England

Am J Dis Child. 1977;131(10):1076-1077. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1977.02120230022002

Developmental medicine is the science of biographies, and from its inception the biography of each infant is unique. When one considers rate of growth in utero alone, great divergence is shown. Among different ethnic groups weight at birth ranges from a mean of 2.4 kg for the neonates of the Lumi tribe in the Toricelli mountains of New Guinea to a mean of 3.88 kg for the neonates born in the islands of Anguilla and Nevis; a difference between the means of 1.48 kg.1 And within a given population the normal range of birth weight at term extends from 2,500 gm to 4,275 gm.2

A small proportion of infants who are very small-for-dates (SFD) or large-for-dates (LFD) owe their size at birth to single factors of great effect such as chromosomal anomalies or maternal diabetes. But in a healthy Western population pathological factors play a relatively small part