For the first time, the Indian government has initiated a committee to develop country-specific growth standards for children. The move was made after a World Health Organization (WHO) report suggested that nearly 30 per cent of Indian children are malnourished, to which, Indian experts and the government have responded saying that that WHOs recommended standards may not be suitable for the Indian scenario.There is, reportedly, growing evidence that Indian children, even those from affluent backgrounds, have much lower values for height and weight development against the WHO standards. Experts have even warned that if India-specific standards are created based on evidence, then the rate of malnutrition may drop down to 15-20 per cent.To develop the new child-development standards for children aged 0-18, the health ministry has directed the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to set up a 14-member committee. The committee will be led by senior paediatrician and researcher, Dr HPS Sachdev. Other panel members will include paediatricians, nutrition experts, biostatisticians and representatives from ministries and Niti Ayog.These child development standards are based on records kept by paediatricians, who chart the weight, height, weight for height and body mass index of children from birth. The data is then showcased in percentiles determined by institutions like WHO to assess if a particular child is developing well vis a vis other children their age. These child development standards are taken into account in studies and surveys, including the ones done by governments to determine malnutrition and other health issue rates.*Image used for representative purpose only.