Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa); Paediatrics and Child Health (East Africa); Institute for Human Development


Objectives To describe the construction of the international INTERGROWTH-21st Neurodevelopment Assessment (INTER-NDA) standards for child development at 2 years by reporting the cognitive, language, motor and behaviour outcomes in optimally healthy and nourished children in the INTERGROWTH-21st Project.

Design Population-based cohort study, the INTERGROWTH-21st Project.

Setting Brazil, India, Italy, Kenya and the UK.

Participants 1181 children prospectively recruited from early fetal life according to the prescriptive WHO approach, and confirmed to be at low risk of adverse perinatal and postnatal outcomes.

Primary measures Scaled INTER-NDA domain scores for cognition, language, fine and gross motor skills and behaviour; vision outcomes measured on the Cardiff tests; attentional problems and emotional reactivity measured on the respective subscales of the preschool Child Behaviour Checklist; and the age of acquisition of the WHO gross motor milestones.

ResultsScaled INTER-NDA domain scores are presented as centiles, which were constructed according to the prescriptive WHO approach and excluded children born preterm and those with significant postnatal/neurological morbidity. For all domains, except negative behaviour, higher scores reflect better outcomes and the threshold for normality was defined as ≥10th centile. For the INTER-NDA’s cognitive, fine motor, gross motor, language and positive behaviour domains these are ≥38.5, ≥25.7, ≥51.7, ≥17.8 and ≥51.4, respectively. The threshold for normality for the INTER-NDA’s negative behaviour domain is ≤50.0, that is, ≤90th centile. At 22–30 months of age, the cohort overlapped with the WHO motor milestone centiles, showed low postnatal morbidity (

Conclusions From this large, healthy and well-nourished, international cohort, we have constructed, using the WHO prescriptive methodology, international INTER-NDA standards for child development at 2 years of age. Standards, rather than references, are recommended for population-level screening and the identification of children at risk of adverse outcomes.

Publication (Name of Journal)

BMJ Open

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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