Birth weight and subsequent growth among Navajo children

Public Health Rep. Sep-Oct 1987;102(5):500-7.


An examination of length, weight, and birth weight data routinely collected from the clinics supported by the Navajo Nation Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) showed an association between birth weight and subsequent growth status. Navajo children less than 2 years of age entering the WIC Program were divided into low, normal, and high birth weight groups, and their growth patterns were plotted when they returned periodically for reassessment. Overall, the children tended to have low length-for-age and high weight-for-length measures, relative to the reference population, that suggest suboptimal nutritional status. Children with birth weights less than 2,500 grams (g) were consistently shorter, lighter, and thinner than children with birth weights greater than 2,500 g. Although the overall growth status of the children improved between 1975 and 1980, the growth among the children with low birth weights never fully caught up with that of the other Navajo children. Moreover, during that period, the normal birth weight group had a modest improvement in length-for-age relative to the reference population, but the low birth weight group did not. These findings suggest that prenatal interventions to improve the birth weight status of Navajo infants may result in improving the growth status of Navajo children.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight*
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Growth*
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American*
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Nutritional Status
  • United States