Importance of Growth for Health and Development

Editor(s): A. Lucas, M. Makrides, E. E. Ziegler NNI Workshop Series (NNIW) vol. 65 , 2010


The focus of the book cover three sessions outcomes: 1st session provides an overview and focused on the association of early growth with obesity and cardiovascular outcomes. The 2nd session concentrated on the interrelationship between growth and neurodevelopment and the 3rd session considered the control and assessment of physical growth.

  • Growth and Later Health: A General Perspective

    Author(s): A. Lucas

    Whilst growth and its derangement in disease have been a long-standing focus in pediatrics, increasing evidence points to a further, fundamental role of early growth in the programming of later health. In studies on animals and humans, rapid early growth is associated with higher risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease, and in animals, senescence and life span – a concept encapsulated in the postnatal growth acceleration hypothesis. This hypothesis explains the benefits of breastfeeding to infants for reduced cardiovascular disease risk in terms of their slower early growth and the fetal origins hypothesis in terms of the adverse postnatal catch-up growth in infants born small. Early growth, notably prior to full term, also influences brain development and cognition – and emerging evidence suggests diverse, broader effects, for instance cancer and the onset of puberty. Understanding the mechanisms, triggers and windows for such effects is important, given the major public health implications, including potential new opportunities for primary prevention of adult disease.

    Close abstract
    View summary PDF View full text PDF