Early growth velocities and weight gain plasticity improve linear growth in Peruvian infants

Lora L. Iannotti, Nelly Zavaleta, Clara Huasaquiche, Zulema Leon, Laura E. Caulfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Growth velocity patterns have the potential to signal unhealthy responses to environmental insults with long-term consequences. We aimed to investigate velocities in Peruvian infants (n=259) in relation to attained anthropometric outcomes at 12 months and to identify determinants of velocities during critical periods of infancy. From 1995 to 1997, a randomised controlled trial of maternal zinc supplementation was conducted in a peri-urban slum area of Lima. Infants were followed monthly through 1 year on a range of anthropometric measures. Three types of velocity variables were studied: (1) incremental velocity (1 months and 3 months); (2) proportional changes (% of total size gained/month); and (3) individual velocity variability [standard deviation (SD) of individual child incremental velocities]. Mean individual child SD of weight velocity was 417g (±126). In multivariate ordinary least squares regression analyses, growth velocities in month 1 and individual weight velocity variability positively predicted attained length and weight by 12 months. Panel regression by generalised least-squares with random effects of length and weight velocities confirmed the exponentially decelerating pace of growth through infancy and the importance of birth size in driving this trajectory. This study contributes evidence to support the importance of early growth velocities and greater degrees of weight gain plasticity for attained length and weight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-137
Number of pages11
JournalMaternal and Child Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Anthropometry
  • Growth velocity
  • Infant
  • Peru

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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