The primary purpose of the project is to develop new "prescriptive" standards describing normal fetal growth, preterm growth and newborn nutritional status in eight geographically diverse populations, and to relate these standards to neonatal health risk. The worldwide use of these tools should improve infants’ healthcare and nutritional status.
The project aims to develop scientifically robust clinical tools to assess fetal growth and the nutritional status of newborn infants, as adjuncts to the recently produced WHO charts for children aged 0 to 5. These will be incorporated into national and international maternal and neonatal programs, and they will be used to monitor and evaluate maternal wellbeing, infant health and nutrition at a population level.
To achieve these objectives, primary data will be collected on a population-based sample of healthy pregnant women. The tools will describe how fetuses and newborns should grow in all countries rather than the more limited objective of past growth references which describe how they have grown at specific times and locations. They will allow for evidence-based evaluation of nutritional status at birth and measurement of the impact of preventive and treatment interventions in the community.