Babies are all meant to be the same!

By JW Dowey - 07 Jul 2014 8:31:1 GMT
Babies are all meant to be the same!

Perhaps in the future our advanced technologies can ensure that every fetus is given an equal chance by means of its mother’s health and environment; foetus image; Credit: © Shutterstock

Babies are the same the world over. Despite allegations that race and ethnic origins caused differences in weight, length or whatever the attest research reveals we’re all very similar. Professor José Villar of Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and 17 other heads of prestigious institutions have examined the disparities at birth of children and discovered great differences in size and the rates of fetal growth. However the environment in the form of nutrition, disease, and maternal health are the critical factors.

This long-awaited study used ultrasound measurements of crown to rump length and head measurements as well as birth length from 8 urban populations in specially-chosen diverse geographical areas (Brazil, China, India, Italy, Kenya, Oman, the UK and USA.) This involved around 25000 mothers. When these ladies had their nutritional and health needs met, there seemed to be no “environmental constraints” on growth.

The paper from these leaders of world heath appears in - The Lancet (medical journal). It is summarised by the Steering Committee of this global research with, “The fact that when mothers are in good health, babies grow in the womb in very similar ways the world over is a tremendously positive message of hope for all women and their families. But there is a challenge as well. There are implications in terms of the way we think about public health: This is about the health and life chances of future citizens everywhere on the planet. All those who are responsible for health care will have to think about providing the best possible maternal and child health.”

The research is known as the INTERGROWTH-21st study carried out in conjunction with WHO’s similar work and fitting well with WHO standards. All we have to ensure now is that mothers are healthy well-educated and well-nourished, so that our children will have an equal start in life!