Height And Growth Charts To Determine If Your Height Or Your Childs Height Is Normal?
Doctors have long recognized the value of evaluating babies' and children's growth and comparing it with that of other kids in the same age group. By doing so, they can track a child's growth over time and monitor his development in relation to both other children and himself. The growth charts your pediatrician uses for this purpose are a standard part of any well-child checkup.
This article will help you become familiar with these charts. As you learn more about them, you will discover what an important tool they are.
What Are Growth Charts?
Doctors use growth charts to compare a child's measurements with those of other children his age. This helps the doctors determine whether a child's growth is adequate. Boys and girls are plotted on different charts because their growth rates and patterns differ. For both boys and girls there are two sets of standard charts: one for infants ages 0 to 36 months and another for children ages 2 to 18 years. The charts are a series of percentile curves that show the distribution of growth measurements of children from across the country.
The growth charts most commonly used in the United States were developed by the National Center for Health Statistics and were first released in 1977. Recently, the center revised the charts to update their data and reflect greater cultural and racial diversity. (The original infant charts were based on data from one study of mainly middle-class, formula-fed Caucasian infants from southwestern Ohio - not a very inclusive population sample. The data for the older children's charts were collected in national health surveys from 1963 to 1974). Also, these new charts go up to age 20.
Looking at the Charts
The new charts represent the most recently published (June 2000) standards for U.S. children. By plotting your child's measurements on these charts, doctors are able to compare your child's growth patterns with data collected on thousands of U.S. children. Remember that only those measurements that are obtained in your child's doctor's office or taken by another properly skilled person should be plotted. Home measurements are frequently inaccurate and can lead to faulty data.
UNDERSTANDING THE GROWTH PERCENTILES
The commonly used standard growth charts include:
In year 2000, the CDC released new growth charts for children. The CDC charts replace the older versions of charts for children's height and weight were based on data from 1977. Kids are taller and heavier now compared to 1977. But the CDC's new charts don't satisfy all needs. Hence the halls.md charts:
Boys Height Black
Boys Height Hispanic
Boys Height Other
Girls Height White
Girls Height Black
Girls Height Hispanic
Girls Height Other
Why use these growth charts?
The CDC did not publish charts for specific race/ethnic group categories. Instead, the CDC lumped everyone together. If you study the halls.md charts, you will notice that differences exist. The CDC charts can be confusing, when both Height and Weight curves are on the same page. The halls.md charts use separate pages, which is a little easier to understand. On CDC charts, the 95th percentile weight line appears to be too low. I.e., If your child is obese, the CDC charts label your child as even more obese than they really are. ( further discussion here.) The growth charts available on this web page are derived from the most recent survey data available. ( The NHANES III was a comprehensive survey of the American population during years 1988-1994.) This data was re-analyzed and re-plotted for the halls.md growth charts.