WHO Growth Charts
In 2006, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released their growth charts for tracking the growth and development of young children. These were based on the measurements of healthy, breastfed babies from six different countries. They used their findings to create growth curves, which they viewed as the optimal growth of young children.
Please Note: Some states and healthcare providers may use the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Growth Charts instead. Speak to your healthcare provider or check your Blue Book to see which chart your child will be compared against.
What Do Growth Charts Show?
While growth charts are a simple way to measure your child’s growth, they are designed for babies and young children who receive good nutrition and who have not had to deal with a lengthy illness.
It’s important to remember that your child’s growth and development will be influenced by many things, including:
- Health and sickness.
Further, children grow in spurts or bursts, which can change their height and weight over a short period. These growth spurts happen often in the first year. Remember, by their first birthday a newborn baby (on average) will more than triple their birth weight.
For toddlers (over 12 months), growth slows down. On average, a toddler will put on two to three kilos each year after their first birthday. They usually won’t go through another significant growth spurt until they hit puberty.
How Are Growth Charts Used?
Healthcare professionals use growth charts to help interpret particular measurements of your child. These measurements include:
- Height (or length)
- Head circumference.
They then compare these measurements to the charts.
Each chart is divided into sections, called ‘centiles’, which show the proportion of males or females that are above or below a particular measurement.
Every baby is an individual and so size may vary from one child to the next.
Keeping Track Of Growth Charts
More information on your baby’s growth can be found in the notes section of your child’s personal health record, otherwise known as the ‘Blue Book’.
Please Note: If you are concerned about your child’s growth, speak to your healthcare professional.