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close this bookSocial Policy Report, Volume X, Number 5, 1996 (Society for Research in Child Development, 1996, 32 pages)
close this folderIntroduction
View the document(introductory text...)
Open this folder and view contentsReconceptualizing the relationship of nutrition and development
Open this folder and view contentsMain research findings
Open this folder and view contentsFuture directions
View the documentConclusion
View the documentNotes
View the documentReferences
View the documentAbout the authors
View the documentAcknowledgements


1Anthropometric (human body) measurements are generally used around the world to classify children as well-nourished or nutritionally at risk (i.e., stunted or wasted). The World Health Organization (WHO) has a set of reference standards for weight and height used to compare trends among different countries and to estimate the prevalence of undernutrition. The 50th percentile, that is, the median of the normal distribution of a particular anthropometric measurement (e.g., weight) at a given age, is generally used as the criterion for comparisons. The WHO references are based on the respective anthropometric measurements obtained by the United States National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Although weight-for-age is a criterion often used to classify children at-risk, it is recognized that this measure is not a fully satisfactory criterion because the weights of some children, which may be low for their chronological age according to the WHO reference, may be in line with their short stature.

2Dietary quality refers to a diverse diet that includes protein and micronutrients (e.g., iron) of animal origin.

3In this context, bioavailability indicates that absorption of nutrients varies depending on their source. For the human infant, for example, the iron contained in human milk has a higher bioavailability than that in cow's milk. This difference explains in part why the prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia is much lower among infants who are breast fed, compared to those fed cow's milk.

4In double-blind experiment, neither the subject nor the person who implements the treatment nor the person who analyzes the data knows which subjects make up the experimental group and which the comparison group.