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Nutrition researchers to develop new growth charts for children with Down syndrome
Date:4/22/2010

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "We believe that children with Down syndrome are growing better now than they were 20 years ago. We also want to look at how they are growing throughout childhood, from infancy to young adulthood, at how body mass index changes across time, and how that relates to body fat composition.

"If we can better understand the growth patterns and the rates of other illnesses that co-occur with Down syndrome, researchers may be better able to plan treatment and design preventive health programs," added Zemel. "The CDC has recognized updated growth charts as an important tool for people providing health care to children with Down syndrome." In its grant guidelines, the CDC states that new growth charts produced from the study will be broadly distributed free of charge.

Under the grant, Zemel and colleagues will recruit approximately 600 children with Down syndrome, from birth to 20 years old, from Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. In regularly scheduled follow-up visits, the researchers will measure the patients' growth and body dimensions and collect data about their health, dietary patterns and physical activities.

"In addition to developing more representative growth charts, we also expect to better understand what factors may contribute to growth-related problems in children with Down syndrome," added Zemel. Another important goal is to develop a screening tool for identifying children at risk for overweight and obesity, which are common concerns for adolescents and young adults with Down syndrome.


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Contact: Joey McCool Ryan
McCool@email.chop.edu
267-426-6070
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Source:Eurekalert

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