Project: Assessing the Feasibility of International Anthropometric References for School-aged Preadolescents
Award Year: 2002
Amount of award, fiscal 2002: $50,000.00
Institution: United Nations University Centre
Principal Investigator: Cutberto Garza
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: This study will provide support for assessing the desirability and feasibility of developing international anthropometric references for school-age preadolescents. These references would prescribe optimal growth in children rather than describing how they actually grow under current conditions. The project addresses the desirability of harmonizing references for preadolescent children with the approach used by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is developing international prescriptive anthropometric references for infants and preschool children. The project supports the United Nations University Centre (UNU) in assessing the feasibility of developing international anthropometric references for school-aged preadolescents for identifying how children should grow.

Current anthropometric references, based on representative sampling, describe how children actually grow rather than what optimal growth should be. With childhood obesity increasing worldwide, weight distributions for most national populations are shifting to the right. The diagnosis of overweight is generally determined from statistical distributions that result from the sampling base, which leads to the paradoxical situation that children classified as obese by earlier references could be classified as non-obese on the basis of updated representative references.

The project will help support the costs of hosting three international meetings for a task force consisting of members of UNU, WHO, and invited child growth experts from other agencies and academic institutions. Other institutions contributing funds to this project include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), through its National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, and the Agricultural Research Service's Children's Nutrition Research Center in Houston, Texas.

Topic: Data Collection and Methodology, Obesity
Butte, N., C. Garza, and M. de Onis. “Evaluation of the Feasibility of International Growth Standards for School-Aged Children and Adolescents,” The Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 137, No. 1, January 2007.