Changes in height standard deviation scores during early life are affected by nutrition

Toshiaki Tanaka, Noriko Kato, Susumu Yokoya, Atsushi Ono, Tsuyoshi Isojima, Hiroshi Yokomichi, Zentaro Yamagata, Soichiro Tanaka, Hiroko Matsubara, Mami Ishikuro, Masahiro Kikuya, Shoichi Chida, Mitsuaki Hosoya, Shinichi Kuriyama, Shigeo Kure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Large changes in height standard deviation score (SDS) have been reported from birth to 3 years of age. We analyzed how early these changes start and whether they are affected by nutrition. Methods: The longitudinal growth of 1,849 children born between March 1 2007 and August 31 2007 or between March 1, 2009 and August 31 2009 with five records from birth to 3 years of age was analyzed. Results: The height SDS at birth was positively correlated with body mass index (BMI) SDS at birth (r = 0.224, P < 0.0001). The height SDS at birth decreased among children with a positive height SDS and increased among children with a negative height SDS. The changes occurred immediately after birth and became more modest as children aged. Regarding the change in the height SDS from birth to 3 years of age, 33.4% of children increased more than 0.5 SDs, 39.8% of children decreased more than 0.5 SDs, and 34.4% of children remained within ±0.5 SDs. The change in height SDS displayed a strong positive correlation with the change in weight during the four periods. From birth till 3 months, from 3 months till 6 months, from 6 months till 1.5 years, and from 1.5 years till 3 years. Conclusions: The significant positive correlation between height SDS and BMI SDS suggests an effect of children’s nutrition status in utero. The height SDS change started immediately after birth and the change was largest from birth to 3 months. A positive correlation between changes in height SDS and weight suggest that growth during early childhood depends on nutritional status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)710-715
Number of pages6
JournalPediatrics International
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun


  • DOHaD hypothesis
  • change in height SDS
  • early childhood
  • infancy
  • nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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