The weights and heights of 3,312 Malaysian primary school boys and girls, aged 6 to 11 years, belonging to various ethnic groups in Malaysia were measured. On the whole, the Chinese children were taller and heavier than the Malay and the Indian children who were the least heavy among the three ethnic groups. Economically the Indians were the poorest among the three ethnic groups and they also had the largest family size. When the household incomes were taken into consideration it was found that the growth achievement of the higher income children was better than that of the poorer children, irrespective of their ethnic groups. It is interesting to note that, although the Indian children as a whole, were the least heavy of the three ethnic groups, yet the growth achievement of the higher income Indian children was similar to that of the higher income Chinese children. The differences in growth achievement of the various ethnic groups are probably due to environmental differences, rather than genetic differences. It seems likely that Malaysian children of different ethnic groups (Malay, Chinese and Indian) can attain similar statures if environmental conditions are similar.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.