Editorials

The 2006 WHO child growth standards

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39155.658843.BE (Published 05 April 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:705
  1. Martin Bloem, chief of nutrition (Martin.Bloem@wfp.org)
  1. World Food Program, Rome 00148, Italy

    Have implications for nutrition programmes in emergencies

    In April 2006, the World Health Organization released its new WHO child growth standards,1 16 years after a WHO working group on infant growth recommended that these standards should describe how children should grow rather than how they actually grow.2 The basis for the new growth standards was six population based studies of infants and children from Ghana, India, Norway, Brazil, Oman, and North America, undertaken between 1997 and 2003. Participants were fed according to accepted international nutritional standards (including breast feeding), and their mothers were adequately nourished and avoided known adverse factors such as tobacco exposure.

    The new growth standards show that children born in different regions of the world can and should grow equally well, and they also show that sex and ethnic origin are minor determinants of growth compared with adequate nutrition, environment, and health.2 However, as expected, important differences in the diagnosis of malnutrition emerge when the …

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