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There is a need to establish up-to-date growth standards for use in assessing the adequacy of children’s growth in every population, especially those with peculiar environmental chal-lenges. The purpose of this study is to update growth reference values for the normal population of urban infants (0-24 months) from the high altitude area of Southwestern Saudi Arabia, and to compare these values with the current international standards established by the US Na-tional Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Anthropometric measurements of weight, length and head circumference were obtained from 5,426 healthy, well-fed infants of both sexes, ages 0 – 24 months, drawn from all socio-economic strata in Abha, Saudi Arabia in a cross-sectional study conducted between March 1998 and December, 2004. Values were corrected for age in the form of centile bands, and compared with the NCHS standards. Then, 5th, 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 90th and 95th local percentiles were calculated from such values using the frequencies procedure. centile curves of wt/age, length/age and HC/age. Abha infants of both sexes are significantly lighter (p<0.0001), shorter (p<0.0001) and have smaller head circumferences (p<0.0001) than NCHS reference values. About 77.5%, 54.4% and 73.1% of infants fell below the 10th centile for weight, length and head circumference respectively. This study establishes current and generally applicable growth reference values for the high altitude urban infants of Aseer region to be used in infant growth monitoring and promo-tion.
Infants, high altitude, growth parameters, Abha, Saudi Arabia