Developmental growth charts are used to show how body size measurements have changed over time. Pre-printed growth charts consist of a series of curves, often as percentiles, which illustrate the distribution of selected body measurements, which you can then overlay your own measurements. Growth charts are mostly used to track the growth of babies and children by pediatricians, nurses, and parents. Growth charts are not intended to be used as the only diagnostic instrument. Instead, growth charts are just one of the tools that contribute to forming an overall clinical impression of the child being measured.
How to Use
There are height growth charts and weight growth charts available on this site. Use a standard procedure to measure height and weight. Measuring once a month is usually enough, as it is common for weight to go up and down from day to day. Mark the chart at the point where the measurement value intersects with the age of the child. Join a line between consecutive dot points to get an impression of the changes over time.
Interpreting the Charts
You can pick up on any growth problems (such as being underweight/overweight, developmental problems, illness and disease) by looking at the child growth chart. Comparing a single point of the growth chart to the expected percentile values for that age will indicate if the child is above and below expected for that age. Monitoring the series of measurements over time will see if the child deviates from that growth line. Comparing the height growth chart to the weight growth chart can indicate if the child is at an appropriate weight for their height. You can also get charts to plot Body Mass Index (BMI), which is another indication of expected weight per height.
Seek Professional Advice
Talk with your health professional if you are worried about your child's weight or height, or if your child seems to be unexpectedly dropping or increasing percentiles. If your child is sick or has a health problem, this can affect their growth and development. If your baby was born prematurely, their age needs to be corrected when plotting on the chart until they turn two years old.
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