Growth of Indonesian infants compared with world health organization growth standards

Pramita G. Dwipoerwantoro, Muchtaruddin Mansyur, Hanifah Oswari, Maria Makrides, Geoffrey Cleghorn, Agus Firmansyah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The ability of the World Health Organization (WHO) growth standards to represent the growth of South East Asian infants has been questioned. The aim of this study was to provide contemporary data on the growth of Indonesian breast-fed and formula-fed infants, compared with the WHO growth standards. Methods: A prospective cohort study of 160 normal healthy infants was undertaken in a suburban area of South Jakarta, Indonesia. Infants from 2 to 6 weeks of age were recruited, and they consumed exclusively either breast milk or infant formula for at least 6 months, with follow-up until 12 months of age. Results: Overall, the infants in the present study were lighter (weight-forage), were shorter (length-for-age), and had smaller head circumferences (head circumference-for-age) than the average WHO Growth Reference Study population but were of similar proportion (weight-for-length). Compared with the WHO Growth Reference Study, the z scores for weight-for-age, length-for-age, and head circumference-for-age in the Indonesian children fell from birth to 6 weeks of age and then increased until 3 months of age in both the breast-fed and the formula-fed infants. At 6 weeks of age, the weight-for-age z scores fell below-2 standard deviations for 16 (20.5%) breast-fed and 40 (51.3%) formula-fed infants, and the length-for-age z scores fell below-2 standard deviations for 31 (39.7%) breast-fed and 41 (52.6%) formula-fed infants. Conclusion: The WHO growth standards do not reflect the growth of the present cohort of Indonesian infants and may overestimate the levels of underweight and stunted children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-252
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2015


  • Asian
  • Breast milk
  • Formula
  • Growth
  • Indonesia
  • Infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Gastroenterology

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