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Open Access Interpopulation variation in height among children 7 to 18 years of age

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The objective of this review is to examine the degree of variation that exists in the achieved height of preadolescent and adolescent children across populations experiencing favorable conditions that support linear growth. Fifty-three population groups were identified that reported mean heights for economically privileged populations from all major continents. Graphic representation of the heights for these populations indicates that the mean height of preadolescent children differs by 3 to 5 cm, whereas population means begin to diverge from the National Center for Health Statistics/World Health Organization (NCHS/WHO) reference at puberty, with most non-European populations falling to approximately 5 cm below the reference and northern European populations exceeding the reference by a similar amount. We conclude that the evidence for limited interpopulation variation in the height of preadolescents supports consideration of a single growth reference for children up to puberty, but the uncertainty of the causes of the divergence in achieved height during puberty requires further research in order to establish an appropriate adolescent growth reference.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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