Nutrition, size, and tempo

Keywords: food access, physical time, SEPS factors, pace of life, catch-up-growth


Nutrition is a prerequisite, but not a regulator of growth. Growth is defined as increase in size over time. The understanding of growth includes an understanding of the binary concept of physical time and individual tempo. Excess food causes tempo acceleration. Food restriction delays tempo. Tempo reflects the pace of life. It is a dynamic physical response to a broad spectrum of social, economic, political, and emotional (SEPE) factors and can affect life expectancy. Variations in tempo create distortions of the z-score patterns of height and weight. Illness or intermediate food shortage lead to intermediate halts in development and create short dips in the z-score patterns. Children who develop throughout life at delayed pace usually run at lower z-scores for height and weight, and show a characteristic adolescent trough; children who develop throughout life at faster than average pace usually run at higher z-scores and show a characteristic adolescent peak in their z-score patterns. During adolescence, almost half of the height variance is due to tempo variation. There is not one tempo for the whole body. Different organ systems grow and mature at different pace.





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How to Cite
Hermanussen, M., & Scheffler, C. (2023). Nutrition, size, and tempo. Human Biology and Public Health, 3.