oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Early growth faltering in rural Zimbabwean children

Volume 37, Issue 9
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



Longitudinal data on weight and height were collected during the first 30 months of life from children living in a deprived rural community in Zimbabwe. All were breast-fed for up to a mean of 21 months; maize porridge being introduced from three months onwards. During the first 6 months, growth was similar to, or even exceeded, that of the NCHS reference population. Thereafter, growth faltering was common. By the age of 30 months, there was a mean deficit in weight of 2,0 kg in girls and 2,3 kg in boys, and a mean deficit in height of 8 cm in boys and 9 cm in girls. No seasonal variation in growth pattern was found. The substantially better growth of more privileged children in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa, would suggest that these children were failing to realise their full genetic potential for growth because of adverse environmental factors.

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