Catch up growth is rapid growth in infants or young children who were born small for their gestational age or who had a health problem severe enough to prevent normal growth for a period of time. Catch up growth usually occurs before age 2 and may include any or all of the following: rapid weight gain, rapid gain in height, rapid gain in head circumference.
Catch up growth has both positive and negative consequences. Infants who do not show catch up growth tend to be shorter adults and may have more cognitive problems than other children. However, infants who do show catch up growth have higher risks of child obesity and adult health problems related to obesity.