slow to grow infantSlow growth in infancy can be difficult for some parents to deal with or understand, but researchers from the University of Bristol claim growth rates tend to reach near normal by teen years. Information for the study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, was pulled from the Children of the 90s Study.

Data collected from nearly 11,500 infants was used for the study. Of the 11,500 infants, 507 were diagnosed as slow to grow during the first eight weeks of life (group A). Another 480 infants were deemed slow to grow based on growth rate to nine months (group B). There were 30 infants included in both groups.

When children were revisited at 13, growth rates, height and weight has reached normal limits, for most children. There were still some variances between peers and children deemed slow to grow. Children originally in group A were about 3.25 cm shorter and 2.5 kg lighter than peers. Children originally in group B were 4 cm shorter and 5.5 kg lighter than peers.

Unless there are underlying health conditions requiring increased caloric intake, infants falling into groups A or B should not be placed on a high calorie diet. This study shows that height and weight tend to reach normal limits by 13 years of age, in both male and female groups, though stature and weight is likely to be affected. Eating habits from six to 12 months tend to predict future eating habits. Increasing calorie intake during this time in response to slow growth could affect obesity rates later in life.

Researchers suggest medical professionals continue to monitor height and weight closely in slow to grow infants, but reassure parents most infants reach normal height and weight in teen years in order to reduce parental anxiety.

Source: Zia ud Din, Pauline Emmett, Colin Steer, and Alan Emond. Growth Outcomes of Weight Faltering in Infancy in ALSPAC. Pediatrics, February 25, 2013 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-0764.