Growth & Development: WHO working group on Infant Growth

previous page
Home Register Log in Log out Past Pages Recall References
Status: Not Logged In
next page
Growth & Development Topics
Table of Contents
Pre module evaluation
Growth of Term Infants
Development of Term Infants
Preterm Infants
Post module evaluation

The World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group on Infant Growth assessed the growth patterns of infants fed under current WHO recommendations as part of a study conducted between 1992 and 1994. The study developed a growth curve for breast-fed infants in six western nations. This curve is compared with the WHO-NCHS curve that is currently used in the United States ( Memorize WHO, 1994 ).


The study contacted investigators around the world who had evaluated the growth of breast-fed infants and invited them to contribute data. The data was evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. Growth was monitored for at least twelve months.
  2. Measurements were taken at least every 2-3 months.
  3. Full breastfeeding for at least four months.
  4. Information reported on the duration of the breastfeeding.
  5. Information reported on any supplemental foods.
  6. Information reported on socioeconomic and other variables.


Seven studies from the United States, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the United Kingdom, and Canada were included.

Growth curves were calculated from 226 infants exclusively breast-fed for at least four months, and breast fed with supplemental foods for > 12 months.

Growth Curves:

The dashed lines on the four growth curves shown below are the 25th, 50th and 75th percentile lines of the NCHS Curves.

The solid lines are the same percentiles for the 226 breast-fed infants.

The following four graphs are from An Evaluation of Infant Growth ( Memorize WHO, 1994 ).

Figure 1
Weight Quartiles compared with the current NCHS-WHO reference

Figure 2
Length Quartiles compared with the current NCHS-WHO reference

Figure 3
Weight-for-Length Quartiles compared with the current NCHS-WHO reference

Figure 4
Head Circumference Quartiles compared with the current NCHS-WHO reference

previous page next page
previous page next page

email -- Copyright 1998 Mary O'Connor MD, MPH -- Unauthorized use prohibited