4 research outputs found

    Height and body-mass index trajectories of school-aged children and adolescents from 1985 to 2019 in 200 countries and territories: a pooled analysis of 2181 population-based studies with 65 million participants

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    Summary Background Comparable global data on health and nutrition of school-aged children and adolescents are scarce. We aimed to estimate age trajectories and time trends in mean height and mean body-mass index (BMI), which measures weight gain beyond what is expected from height gain, for school-aged children and adolescents. Methods For this pooled analysis, we used a database of cardiometabolic risk factors collated by the Non-Communicable Disease Risk Factor Collaboration. We applied a Bayesian hierarchical model to estimate trends from 1985 to 2019 in mean height and mean BMI in 1-year age groups for ages 5‚Äď19 years. The model allowed for non-linear changes over time in mean height and mean BMI and for non-linear changes with age of children and adolescents, including periods of rapid growth during adolescence. Findings We pooled data from 2181 population-based studies, with measurements of height and weight in 65 million participants in 200 countries and territories. In 2019, we estimated a difference of 20 cm or higher in mean height of 19-year-old adolescents between countries with the tallest populations (the Netherlands, Montenegro, Estonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina for boys; and the Netherlands, Montenegro, Denmark, and Iceland for girls) and those with the shortest populations (Timor-Leste, Laos, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea for boys; and Guatemala, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Timor-Leste for girls). In the same year, the difference between the highest mean BMI (in Pacific island countries, Kuwait, Bahrain, The Bahamas, Chile, the USA, and New Zealand for both boys and girls and in South Africa for girls) and lowest mean BMI (in India, Bangladesh, Timor-Leste, Ethiopia, and Chad for boys and girls; and in Japan and Romania for girls) was approximately 9‚Äď10 kg/m2. In some countries, children aged 5 years started with healthier height or BMI than the global median and, in some cases, as healthy as the best performing countries, but they became progressively less healthy compared with their comparators as they grew older by not growing as tall (eg, boys in Austria and Barbados, and girls in Belgium and Puerto Rico) or gaining too much weight for their height (eg, girls and boys in Kuwait, Bahrain, Fiji, Jamaica, and Mexico; and girls in South Africa and New Zealand). In other countries, growing children overtook the height of their comparators (eg, Latvia, Czech Republic, Morocco, and Iran) or curbed their weight gain (eg, Italy, France, and Croatia) in late childhood and adolescence. When changes in both height and BMI were considered, girls in South Korea, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and some central Asian countries (eg, Armenia and Azerbaijan), and boys in central and western Europe (eg, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, and Montenegro) had the healthiest changes in anthropometric status over the past 3¬∑5 decades because, compared with children and adolescents in other countries, they had a much larger gain in height than they did in BMI. The unhealthiest changes‚ÄĒgaining too little height, too much weight for their height compared with children in other countries, or both‚ÄĒoccurred in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, New Zealand, and the USA for boys and girls; in Malaysia and some Pacific island nations for boys; and in Mexico for girls. Interpretation The height and BMI trajectories over age and time of school-aged children and adolescents are highly variable across countries, which indicates heterogeneous nutritional quality and lifelong health advantages and risks

    Diminishing benefits of urban living for children and adolescents’ growth and development

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    Optimal growth and development in childhood and adolescence is crucial for lifelong health and well-being1‚Äď6. Here we used data from 2,325 population-based studies, with measurements of height and weight from 71 million participants, to report the height and body-mass index (BMI) of children and adolescents aged 5‚Äď19 years on the basis of rural and urban place of residence in 200 countries and territories from 1990 to 2020. In 1990, children and adolescents residing in cities were taller than their rural counterparts in all but a few high-income countries. By 2020, the urban height advantage became smaller in most countries, and in many high-income western countries it reversed into a small urban-based disadvantage. The exception was for boys in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa and in some countries in Oceania, south Asia and the region of central Asia, Middle East and north Africa. In these countries, successive cohorts of boys from rural places either did not gain height or possibly became shorter, and hence fell further behind their urban peers. The difference between the age-standardized mean BMI of children in urban and rural areas was <1.1 kg m‚Äď2 in the vast majority of countries. Within this small range, BMI increased slightly more in cities than in rural areas, except in south Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and some countries in central and eastern Europe. Our results show that in much of the world, the growth and developmental advantages of living in cities have diminished in the twenty-first century, whereas in much of sub-Saharan Africa they have amplified
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