Over the past hundred years in industrialised countries and recently in some developing countries, children have been getting larger and growing to maturity more rapidly. This paper compares the growth of Malaysian children with similar socioeconomic backgrounds but born about twelve years apart. Data were obtained from records of 227 children born between 1968 and 1973 and 238 children born between 1980 and 1985. The children were followed-up regularly at the University Hospital Child Health Clinic in Kuala Lumpur for a variable period from birth to five years of age. Measurements for their weight, length and head circumference were taken at each visit. There is a directional indication that boys and girls of the 1980-1985 cohort are taller, heavier and have bigger head circumferences from birth to five years of age and the difference widens as the child grows older. This study clearly shows that a positive secular trend has taken place in the last decade, reflecting an improvement of living conditions with time. The factors involved in the positive secular trend are manifold and the most important is probably nutrition.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.