arrow  Longitudinal Study on Growth of Indian
    Children During Adolescence [10 - 16 Years]

areas had higher body weight than boys. No rural-urban differences were observed in the chest circumference. Mid- are circumference, bi-acromial diameter and bi-cristal diameter were significantly higher for both boys and girls in urban area than rural area. Rural and urban differences were also observed in the earlier ICMR study5. Other studies have shown that children in urban areas are taller and heavier and mature earlier than children from rural areas. This could be a reflection of differences in income, education and family size and urban-rural differences tend to be smaller in economically better-off countries10 .

The average height of girls from the rural areas in this study was similar to that of boys around the age of 13.5 to 14.5 years and less than boys at all other ages. In the urban slums girls were taller than boys between the ages of 11 to 14 years. This difference could be because the growth spurt occurred earlier in the girls. The adolescent girls from rural as well as urban slum areas in this study had higher body weight than boys. This difference in weight started from 11 and 12 years of age in urban and rural girls respectively. Since this study was only for a period of five years it, was not possible to study the differences between the sexes in the final height and weight achieved. According to Tanner, until girls enter their adolescent growth spurt there is little difference in stature between the sexes. At this point, the girls tend to become taller than boys. The difference in stature, arises from the earlier adolescent growth in girls11.

The physical growth characteristics during adolescence was analyzed in relation to the nutritional status using the Gomez classification at the time of registration into the earlier study. The physical growth during adolescence was studied in three groups viz., Normal, Grade I malnutrition, Grade II & III malnutrition at the age of 5 to 7 years. It was observed at all the centres, that both boys and girls who had normal weight for age at the age of 5 to 7 years continued to have higher weight and height than children with grade I and grade II & III malnutrition and children with grade I malnutrition had higher values than those with grade II & III malnutrition throughout the study period. Similar observations were made with regard to height of boys and girls.

The study shows that both urban and rural boys and girls had lower heights and weights than affluent Indian children. Wide variations in physical growth between centres were observed. Even in the two urban slum areas studied there were significant differences. Further, children malnourished in early life continued to remain shorter and leaner than those who were 'normal'. This suggests a large environmental influence which persists during adolescence. Repeated exposures to, infection results in the failure of catch-up growth. Such variations between the means of groups

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