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Ann Hum Biol. 2005 Jan-Feb;32(1):3-14.

Growth patterns of Filipino children indicate potential compensatory growth.

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  • 1International Food Policy Research Institute Washington, DC 20006, USA.



The extent to which compensatory growth can occur after 2 years of age among children who were stunted in infancy has been questioned due, in part, to limitations in the data used to explore the issue.


This study uses longitudinal data with multiple measurements over the entirety of the growth period to explore the potential for post-infancy compensatory growth in a developing country context.


Data comes from >2000 Filipino youths from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey. Anthropometric data were collected bimonthly from 0 to 2 years, and at mean ages of 8, 11.5, 15.5 and 18.5 years. Growth indicators and influences on growth are compared among three groups: those that improved, tracked or worsened in change in height-for-age Z-score from 2 to 18.5 years of age.


Those that improved in growth from 2 to 18.5 years grew slowest before 2 years of age, while the opposite was true among those that worsened. The reversal took place during the prepubescent growth spurt. Those that improved tended to have less educated but taller mothers. Regression to the mean and the potential for compensatory growth are discussed.

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