For all those complaining about India's deteriorating nutrition and health conditions, here's some good news at last: According to the Indian Academy of Paediatricians' (IAP) revised growth chart for the ideal height, weight and body mass index (BMI) of children aged between five and 18 years, Indian kids have registered a marked increase in all three parameters. The chart reveals that the average height of an 18-year-old Indian boy increased by 2.8 cm between 1989 (the last time when any such data was collected) and 2014. The height of girls, however, only grew by 1 cm in this period.
The figures suggest an increase in weight as well: While 18-year-old boys in India are now heavier by seven to 10 kg, the corresponding figure for a girl child only shows a five-kg increase.
The new charts are based on the IAP's study of 33,991 children living in 14 Indian cities. The last such chart was made in 2007, using data collected in 1989. These charts are used as a standard to determine the ideal height and weight of children, and also detect malnutrition and general health indicators.
Paediatricians have called the revised growth chart an important development. "The chart is a result of extensively published review studies on the subject, and extensive data collected from across the country, which makes it all the more important," said Dr Nitin Shah, paediatrician and past president of IAP, under whom the first chart was published in 2007.