Catch-up growth and growth deficits: Nine-year annual panel child growth for native Amazonians in Bolivia

Tipo de publicación: Artículo en revista académica
Fecha: 2016
Autor(es): Zhang R., Undurraga E.A., Zeng W., Reyes-García V., Tanner S
Fuente: Annals of Human Biology, 43 (4), 304-315.


Childhood growth stunting is negatively associated with cognitive and health outcomes, claimed to be irreversible after age 2.


To estimate growth rates for children 2 ≤ age ≤ 7 who were stunted (sex-age standardized z-score [HAZ] <−2), marginally-stunted (−2≤ HAZ ≤ −1), or not-stunted (HAZ >−1) at baseline and tracked annually until age 11; frequency of movement among height categories; and variation in height predicted by early childhood height.


We used a nine-year annual panel (2002–2010) from a native Amazonian society of horticulturalists-foragers (Tsimane’; n=174 girls; 179 boys at baseline) is used. We used descriptive statistics and random-effect regressions.


We found some evidence of catch-up growth in HAZ but persistent height deficits. Children stunted at baseline improved 1 HAZ unit by age 11, and had higher annual growth rates than non-stunted children. Marginally-stunted boys had a 0.1 HAZ units higher annual growth rate than non-stunted boys. Despite some catch up, ~80% of marginally-stunted children at baseline remained marginally-stunted by age 11. The height deficit increased from age 2 to11. We found modest year-to-year movement between height categories.


The prevalence of growth faltering among the Tsimane’ has declined, but hurdles still substantially lock children into height categories.