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    Children During Adolescence [10 - 16 Years]
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INTRODUCTION

Growth is the study of change in an organism not yet mature. Puberty includes a Complex period of growth during which morphological, Physiological, psychological changes accompany the attainment of sexual maturity in a child. Adolescence comprises nearly half of the period in man. Every child during adolescence experiences a growth spurt and this varies within and between populations with regard to age at which it occurs as well as the magnitude, sequence and duration of change. Both environmental and genetic factors affect stature and age at attainment of sexual maturity. Nutrition, diseases, socio-economic status, urbanization, physical activity, Psychological season of year and climate are the important environmental influences. Most of these factors are related to nutrition and in some cases interaction between them may be involved (1) .

The Indian Council of Medical Research conducted a multicentre study to assess Physical, sexual, skeletal and Psychological development in children 10 to 16 years of age from 1986 to 1991 in different regions of the country. The ICMR had earlier conducted a longitudinal study in rural and urban slums of India on growth and development of children in relation to nutritional status in which two cohorts of children including children of ages 0-2 years and 5-7 years were followed for five years. The children of the second cohort , formed the study population for the present study. The data on physical growth parameters, sexual development and skeletal maturity during adolescence are presented in this report.

Monitoring of growth by serial measurements of anthropometric parameters particularly height and weight are routinely used to assess the nutritional status of a child. At the community level, it is used to identify children who might benefit from a nutrition or medical intervention. These assessments are usually made using the NCHS data as a reference standard upto 10 years of age. There is however no agreement on the parameters to be used for the assessment of growth and development in adolescence as there exists a wide variation amongst different populations in time of onset of puberty. These anthropometric parameters are therefore compared with a cross-sectional study conducted by the ICMR in the seventies as well as with the growth of affluent children of India and the NCHS standard.

OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the study were:

  1. To study the physical growth of adolescent children by anthropometric measurements at regular intervals.
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