Catch-up growth cannot undo damage from undernutrition
Linear growth retardation is a widely used marker of undernutrition. While the development community has long worked to reduce the worldwide prevalence of stunted linear growth, in recent decades the possibility of reversing growth retardation has attracted increasing interest.
Although helping stunted children achieve “catch-up growth” seems a worthwhile aim, it is one that begs several questions. Catch-up growth refers to a reversal of growth retardation. But varying criteria and methodologies for determining catch-up growth abound in the literature, creating confusion about how to identify and study it.
A new research paper in Advances in Nutrition discusses the possible profound, irreversible effects of undernourishment early in life.