A longitudinal study of the growth in height of boys and girls of West Bengal (India) aged six months to 20 years
AbstractSummary This study is the first Indian longitudinal growth survey from early childhood to maturity. The heights of 303 boys and 260 girls, from middle-class families in a semi-urban area south of Calcutta, were measured at regular intervals over periods of up to 14 years (between 1952 and 1966). The data were analysed using appropriate mixed longitudinal and curve-fitting techniques. Growth in height of these middle-class Bengali children, who are not a representative sample of the Indian population, is slightly above the national Indian Council of Medical Research Standards. In both sexes, mean heights are below the 10th centile line of the British standards from an early age onwards, mainly due to a smaller prepubertal growth. The adolescent growth spurt in the Indians is similar to that seen in British children, as is the age at which it occurs (peak height velocity at 14·0 years in boys, 12·5 years in girls). The sex difference of 14·0 cm in adult stature is attributable to a greater adolescent gain in the boys of 6·0 cm, a greater height in boys at the girls' age at take-off of 3·3 cm and a gain in height by the boys of 4·7 cm between the girls' and boys' ages at take-off.