REVIEW PAPER
Malnutrition as the cause of growth retardation among children in developed countries
 
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Department of Paediatric Diabetes, Auxology and Obesity, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznań, Poland
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Joanna Budzulak   

Department of Pediatric Diabetes, Auxology and Obesity, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Szpitalna 27/33, 60-572, Poznań, Poland
 
 
KEYWORDS
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ABSTRACT
Introduction and objective:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malnutrition is a term that covers three broad groups of conditions: undernutrition, micronutrient-related malnutrition, and overweight with obesity, and diet-related non-communicable diseases. Undernutrition is the leading cause of growth failure worldwide, mainly in third-world countries where stunting is a significant public health problem arising from food poverty. In developed countries, malnutrition resulting in growth failure might often be misdiagnosed in paediatric practice. The aim of this study was to review the current state of knowledge regarding nutritional causes of growth retardation among children in developed countries.

Materials and method.:
The review was based on data obtained from articles published in the PubMed database (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/) between 2004–2021. The expert reports of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), were also included.

Brief description of the state of knowledge:
Nutritional growth retardation (NGR) is challenging to diagnose, as it may result from mild food restrictions without apparent abnormalities in biochemical parameters of nutritional status. Reduced insulin-like growth factor type 1 (IGF-1) may suggest NGR, but it also occurs in endocrine disorders such as growth hormone deficiency.

Conclusion:
NGR is a phenomenon that can occur in underweight children and those with normal or excessive body weight. As no effective diagnostic biochemical test is available, it seems that paediatric patients with growth failure should undergo dietary analysis preceding further advanced endocrine and biochemical diagnostic procedures.

 
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