When subclinical undernutrition is a problem, it might be wise to screen the child population continuously for wasting or underweight. Both can be measured within a primary health care setting through the application of appropriate growth and weight charts. However, primary health care workers and mothers must know how to plot curves by marking the weight according to the age of the child on a chart. In doing so they have to deal with a two-dimensional system and to interpret the resulting curves.
The World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend that babies should be exclusively breast-fed from birth up to the age of 4 to 6 months to prevent infections and malnutrition, and to allow them to grow properly and to develop normally.
Growth is a vital property of all living beings. Most of us seldom realise that life’s odyssey starts with a single cell which keeps on multiplying in geometric proportions in the mother’s womb. In the 36- to 40-week gestation period, after which the infant is ready to enter the outside world, it grows to a weight of about 3 kg and is about 5000 times what it was at the time of conception – a fine illustration of the great process called growth.