Growth charts are made of a series of percentile curves that illustrate the distribution of selected body measurements in children. These growth charts have been used by pediatricians, nurses, and parents to track the growth of infants, children, and adolescents in the United States since 1977.
How to use a growth chart?
The CDC growth chart helps us assess physical growth among children and teens. Comparing body measurements with the appropriate age- and sex-specific growth chart enables health care providers to monitor growth and identify potential health- or nutrition-related problems. During routine screening, health care providers assess physical growth using the head circumference, weight and length of infants and children up to 2 years of age and the weight, stature (also referred to as height), and BMI of children and teens from aged 2 through 19 years.
Although one measurement plotted on a growth chart can be used to screen children for nutritional risk, it does not provide adequate information to determine the child’s growth pattern. When plotted correctly, a series of accurate measurements offer important information about a child’s growth pattern. Gestational age, birth weight, and parental stature should be considered since they may influence a child’s growth pattern. Parental stature, for example, should be considered before assuming there is a health or nutrition concern. Other factors, such as the presence of a chronic illness or special health care need, must be considered, and further evaluation may be necessary.
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