Intra-uterine Growth Restriction in Developing Countries: Impact on Child Mental Development and Behavior

  • Susan P. Walker
  • Susan M. Chang


Infants born low birth weight at term are estimated to comprise 11% of births in developing countries. These infants have experienced intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) indicating constraints in the supply of nutrients to the fetus during a critical period for brain development. Several studies have examined the association of term low weight with development in infancy and early childhood and have shown associations with motor and mental development and behavior. There are fewer studies from developing countries of birth weight and ability later in childhood or adolescence and findings are less consistent. Follow-up studies in Guatemala and Brazil showed few cognitive differences compared with normal birth weight infants; however, in a large Taiwan study, adolescents born term low birth weight had poorer academic achievement than those who were normal birth weight. Associations with behavior problems have also been reported in some studies but not others. The evidence to date suggests that term low birth weight infants are at risk for poor development but more information is needed on longer term outcomes. There have been few intervention studies aimed at improving the development of term low birth weight infants in developing countries. Evaluations of interventions feasible in resource-poor settings would contribute to reducing the developmental disadvantages associated with term low birth weight.


Birth Weight Mental Development Ponderal Index Normal Birth Weight Infant Lower Developmental Level 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Appropriate birth weight


Appropriate ponderal index


Developmental quotient


Intelligence quotient


Intra-uterine growth restriction


Low birth weight


Term low birth weight


Low ponderal index


Normal birth weight


Socioeconomic status


Small for gestational age


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Epidemiology Research UnitTropical Medicine Research Institute, The University of the West IndiesMona, Kingston 7Jamaica

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