To determine the mean fetal growth curve in the human species is theoretically
impossible; it would require a precise measurement of fetal weight in utero during
the entire fetal life.
For many years, nutrition of the breastfed infant growing at a satisfactory rate
has been the standard against which nutritional requirements have been set. While
recognizing the importance of genetic, metabolic, and environmental influences in
producing significant differences, the notion of "adequate breastfeeding" has been
subjected to intensive study as carefully obtained data have revealed wide variations
in nutrient intake of some breastfed infants.
Because of the rapid rate of anabolic processes and brain growth, no patient
faces a more critical need for optimal nutrition than the low birthweight (LBW)
infant. Nutritional requirements of these infants, however, remain unclear.
If the breastfed infant is to be upheld as the reference standard for infant feeding,
more complete information is needed on nutrient intakes from human milk and on
the applicability of this "model" to nonbreastfed infants.
This chapter discusses food intakes, principally of dietary energy, in infants fed
in various ways: exclusively from the breast, with breast milk plus supplementary
or complementary foods, and by artificial feeding.
From the nutritional point of view, what is needed ideally to monitor growth is
methodology that is comparable nation to nation, sample to sample, and within
such groups or communities to show the distribution of good or malnutrition, and
the degree of the latter. Although perhaps trite, it is necessary to emphasize that
nutrition is not biochemistry or caloric intake.
There is disagreement about what is normal growth in infancy. This is an
important issue because "normal" growth charts are used extensively in clinical
pediatrics and in public health work to assess the nutritional status of individuals,
groups, communities, and countries.
Epidemiologic studies in tropical and subtropical regions highlighted the interaction
between malnutrition and infectious disease and its contribution to determining
morbidity and mortality in developing countries.
A large segment of the world population lives on deficient protein-energy intakes
and suffers from physical growth retardation, low psychological test performance,
and a high prevalence of infant and preschool age mortality.
N-Acetylneuraminic acid, in human milk, 32
Adipose tissue, brown, in newborn infants,
Alcohol consumption, Australian growth
Allometry coefficient, 4
American Academy of Pediatrics Committee
growth of low birthweight infants, 45