Flemish Growth Curves

Project Details


It has been accepted that the increase in height and weight of children and
youngsters in Western countries since the beginning of the 20th Century is
the caused by an improvement in the living conditions and the subsequent
effect on people's general health. The phenomenon is known as the secular
trend in growth and is the result of the combined effect of an increase in
size and an advancement of growth and maturation rate.
The growth status of children is virtually the sole positive indicator of
public health in a population, in contrast with mortality and morbidity
which reflect negative aspects of health. Therefore, a regular evaluation
of the growth status of children and the study of the factors controlling
their growth provides important information for policy makers in public
health. The problem of childhood obesity and the associated health risks in
later life (atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes and some forms of
cancer, for instance) is just one example of how important the study of
growth and development of children in a population is. However, in the past
decades, there has been no large-scale scientific study of the growth and
development of children and adolescents in Belgium nor in Flanders that can
be considered as truly representative for the population.
The present project, supported by the Ministry of the Flemish Community,
envisages to establish representative growth reference charts, and to
examine a number of factors that control the growth and development of
today's children, adolescents and young adults in Flanders. The results of
this study will provide important information and numerous tools for all
those involved in preventive health policy and growth monitoring. The
results will also contribute to our knowledge on the biology of human
growth. The project is co-ordinated and realised at the Free University of
Brussels (VUB) in close collaboration with experts from various other
Flemish Universities (KUL, RUG), School Health Centres (Centra voor
Leerlingbegeleiding), the Flemish Scientific Union for Youth Health Care
(Vlaams Wetenschappelijke Vereniging voor Jeugdgezondheidszorg), and the
organisation Child & Family (Kind & Gezin). The project will be realised in
the period 2001 - 2006.
Effective start/end date1/12/0030/11/05

Flemish discipline codes

  • Biological sciences


  • biology