The W.H.O. says it now has scientific evidence that infants and children from all over the world have very similar growth patterns when they are given good care and nutrition.
Cutberto Garza, Director of the United Nations University Food and Nutrition Programme, said that this is the first time, the world has a new reference of a new standard for child growth that is based on a prescriptive approach, unlike in the past where the approaches had attempted to define child growth as representative of a population and therefore describing how children grew at particular time place. He explained that they are now able to describe how children should grow, regardless of time and place.
The survey conducted by WHO showed that differences in children's growth up to the age of five are more the result of feeding practices, overall nutrition, environment and health care than genetics or ethnicity. They hoped that the new standards would now help to provide parents, doctors and policymakers a way to measure whether the nutrition and health care needs of children are being met. Their main hope ultimately was to find if any growth related condition be it poor nutrition or obesity could be detected and addressed at an early stage.
The WHO, which has declared war on poor diets, has blamed it for rising obesity. The WHO has estimated that at least 20 million children under five years and one billion adults worldwide are overweight. Another 170 million children are underweight, three million of who die each year as a result of malnutrition. They also announced that 20 to 30% more young children might be overweight than previously thought according to new growth standards.