Anthropometry, Body Composition and Growth Assessment

Anthropometry is the study of human body size and proportions. It is one method to predict body composition. Bioelectrical impedance analysis, isotope dilution and densitometry are examples of additional options. Antenatally and among infants and young children, it includes the monitoring of growth: the assessment of change in body size over time. Growth is a sensitive indicator of health. For all people, but in particular for pregnant women, infants and children, anthropometry is an objective reflection and core element of nutrition status. Many studies in the Research Centre for Maternal, Fetal, Newborn and Child Healthcare include the measurement and interpretation of anthropometric, body composition or growth data. The aim of this page is to:

  • Help researchers plan for and collect the highest quality anthropometric, body composition and growth data
  • Guide researchers in the interpretation of anthropometric, body composition and growth data from conception onwards
  • Share relevant resources and publications


Friede Wenhold and team:


Wenhold FA, Nel S. When is the estimation of weight and height good enough? A life cycle view. South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2022 Apr 8;35(1):i-i.

Nel, S., Feucht, U. D., Nel, A. L., Becker, P. J., & Wenhold, F. A. M. (2022). A novel screening tool to predict severe acute malnutrition through automated monitoring of weight-for-age growth curves. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 18, e13364.

Nel S, Feucht UD, Mulol H, Wenhold FAM.  Association of Prenatal Placental Function with Anthropometry and Body Composition through 2 years of Age in South African Infants: The UmbiBaby Study. The Journal of Nutrition. 2023; 153:958-969.

Nel S, Feucht UD, Nel A, Becker PJ, Wenhold FA. The ability of an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) to Predict Paediatric Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) from Routine Growth Curves. Available at SSRN 3728572.








Click here for manual

Powerpoint slides available (downloadable)

See article on University of Pretoria annual review on "Growth of very low birth weight preterm babies remains a challenge": Click here for article



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