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By G J Ebrahim (auth.)

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Modern obstetric and paediatric practice may inadvertently prevent such close contact in early life with disastrous results later, and these have been described. 125 The greatest tragedy befalls those infants who are to be cared for by a non-loving parent. If they do survive the initial period of infancy, the chances of ending up as an emotional and physical wreck are greatly increased. Recent awareness of the problem of child abuse has led to the identification and study of some of the causative factors.

The majority of infant death s were due principally to infectious illnesses and nutritional deficiency occurring in infants of low birth weight. 6 provides the global picture of infant deaths and is based on surveys carried out during the early seventies. 101,102 What does the future hold for the three-quarters of humanity in the developing world? Are there enough resources to halt this tragic wastage and to lift millions out of their miseries? In recent years several strategies have been evolved'P' and already countries like Cuba, China and Tanzania have made considerable progress in improving living standards of the rural population.

All over Western Europe social and environmental improvement since 1900 has resulted in an average increase in height by 1-2 ern at age 5-7 years and by 2-3 ern at age 10-14 years in each decade of this century. Whereas previously the average adult male in Western Europe did not reach final height till the age of 25 years or later , he is now doing so by age 18 to 19. There has been a similar trend in earlier onset of menarche in girls. 14 SUMMARY The above discussion identifies some of the fundamental concepts in the biology of human growth.

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