Growth of children who were stunted in early childhood

S. P. Walker, S. M. Grantham-McGreeor, J. H. Himes, C. A. Powell

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The extent to which catch-up growth occurs following linear growth retardation in early childhood, and the long term benefits of supplementation remain controversial. We conducted a study of 122 stunted children (height-for-age < - 2 SD of NCHS references) recruited from a survey of poor neighborhoods in Kingston, Jamaica, who completed a 2 year supplementation trial beginning at age 9-24 months During the trial supplemented children gained 1 cm more in height than non-supplemented children. Four years later, at age 7-8 years, there were no longer any effects of supplementation on height. From the end of the trial to follow-up, children who had been supplemented gained 1 cm less in height. This loss of benefit from early supplementation is similar to that reported in a study in Cali, Colombia. On enrolment the mean height-for-age of the children was -2.94 SD, and this increased to -1.06 SD at follow-up in both supplemented and non-supplemented children Thus, although there were no long term effects of supplementation, catch-up growth occurred in both groups, but they remained significantly smaller than a comparison group of children from the same neighborhoods who were not stunted in early childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996


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