Skip to main content Accessibility help

Linear and knemometric growth in the early phase of rehabilitation from severe malnutrition

  • C. P. Doherty (a1), M. A. K. Sarkar (a2), M. S. Shakur (a2), S. C. Ling (a1), R. A. Elton (a3) and W. A. Cutting (a3)...


The relationship between ponderal, linear and lower leg growth in children recovering from severe malnutrition remains unclear. We report on the early growth of 141 severely malnourished Bangladeshi children aged 6 to 36 months of age who were followed for 90 d. Mean (SD) weight for height (WHZ) and height for age (HAZ) catch-up growth Z scores over the 90 d were 1.6 (0.85) and 0.47 (0.325) respectively. mean (SD) lower leg length growth was 10.35 (4.5) mm. Change in HAZ was significantly associated with initial WHZ, but linear growth occurred in the presence of severe wasting and no threshold WHZ score was identified. Lower leg length gain correlated throughout with ponderal indices but with change in HAZ score only after day 45. Only initial WHZ score and maternal height predicted for linear growth and only accounted for 20 % of total variance. We conclude that linear growth occurs early in severely malnourished children but that knemometry behaves as a ponderal index acutely.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Dr C. P. Doherty, fax +44 (0)141 201 0837, email


Hide All
Bisgaard, H (1993) Systemic activity of inhaled topical steroid in toddlers studied by knemometry. Acta Paediatrica 82, 10661071.
Costello, AM (1989) Growth velocity and stunting in rural Nepal. Archives of Disease in Childhood 64, 14781482.
Doherty, CP, Sarkar, MAK, Shakur, MS, Ling, SC, Elton, RA & Cutting, WA (1998) Zinc and rehabilitation from severe protein–energy malnutrition: Higher-dose regimens are associated with increased mortality. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 68, 742748.
Golden, BE & Golden, MHN (1992) Effect of zinc on lean tissue synthesis during recovery from malnutrition. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 46, 697706.
Hermanussen, M (1988) Knemometry, a new tool for the investigation of growth. European Journal of Pediatrics 147, 350355.
Hermanussen, M, Geiger-Benoit, K, Burmeister, J & Sippell, WG (1987) Can the knemometer shorten the time for growth rate assessment? Acta Paediatrica Scandinavica–Supplement 337, 3036.
Khanum, S, Ashworth, A & Huttly, SR (1998) Growth, morbidity, and mortality of children in Dhaka after treatment for severe malnutrition: a prospective study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 67, 940945.
Roche, AF (1974) Differential timing of maximum length increments among bones within individuals. Human Biology 46, 145157.
Wales, JK & Milner, RD (1987) Knemometry in assessment of linear growth. Archives of Disease in Childhood 62, 166171.
Walker, SP & Golden, MHN (1988) Growth in length of children recovering from severe malnutrition European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 42, 395404.
Walker, SP, Grantham-McGregor, SM, Himes, JH & Powell, CA (1996) Relationships between wasting and linear growth in stunted children Acta Paediatrica 85, 666669.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed