Child growth chart is one of the indicators based on which the normal growth rate of infants, children and adolescents is measured based on different body sizes such as height, weight, body mass index. In the following, you will read more about the growth chart and how to interpret it.
What is a growth chart?
A growth chart is a representation of the growth rate of an infant, child, or adolescent. The baby’s growth chart records height, weight, and head circumference. The growth chart of children and adolescents includes height, weight and BMI (body mass index). In fact, the growth chart shows a long-term and unique assessment of a person’s overall health. Growth chart abnormalities show the child accelerating or slowing down unpredictably over time.
Interpret the child’s growth chart
Growth chart is a tool to visualize the growth rate of a child over time (months and years) compared to the growth rate of children in the general population. The lines sloping from left to right are each numbered in percentiles. This number refers to the “proportion of children in the total population” that follow a certain growth pattern over time, which corresponds to the line on the chart.
The first column on the left contains the measurements at the beginning of the growth period, and the last row on the right is for the end of the growth period. The highest row indicates the progress of time during the growth period. To use charts, you must first find the age of the child at the bottom of the chart. Consider a hypothetical vertical line on the graph from the corresponding age. Find the factor under consideration, for example, head circumference, height or weight in the relevant chart on the left, and this time draw a horizontal line on the chart from the same point. The intersection of the two lines you have drawn is indicated by a dot.
Continue to measure the child at different intervals, and in the same way, several points will be found on the chart. Draw your child’s growth curve by connecting these dots. With this curve, you can find out how your child is growing compared to other children in the world. The fiftieth percentile line, the slope line with the number 50 written on it, shows the average growth of children around the world.
What does the percentile mean?
Assume that your child’s weight curve corresponds to the 70th percentile curve. This means that 70% of your child’s same-sex children weigh the same or less. You should check your growth curve regularly and see your doctor if you notice any sudden changes; For example, if your child is usually in the 50th percentile but his or her growth curve is toward the lower percentiles, you should tell your doctor to find the cause of these changes.
Of course, as long as the height and weight are proportionate, being overweight at a reasonable and low level is not a sign of concern. Consider genetic factors as well. If the parents are shorter than average, you can not expect the child to grow faster than their peers, and obviously shorter or slower. This technique makes it possible to evaluate and compare the child’s growth rate with the peer group as well as the child’s previous growth rate. Measurements at the same time intervals increase the accuracy of such assessments.
The difference between neonatal growth charts and older children growth charts
Infant growth charts traditionally control height for age, weight for age, and head circumference for age. Measuring a baby’s head circumference provides an indirect mechanism for assessing brain development. As the brain gets larger, it causes the skull to enlarge due to external pressure.
It examines a child’s growth chart (usually starting at age 2), height for age, weight for age, weight relative to height (is the child’s weight appropriate for his height?), And BMI or body mass index. Body mass index is determined using weight, height and gender.
How do doctors use growth charts?
Pediatricians consider growth charts to be very valuable in assessing a child’s health. Healthy children have a steady (and therefore somewhat predictable) growth rate. Infertility of the baby (ie birth before 36 weeks), multiple deliveries in one pregnancy (eg twins), maternal health problems (high blood pressure, poor placental function and infection), and other conditions may affect the baby’s growth statistics and thus the growth chart. Change him.
By recording different factors and sizes over time, the pediatrician will ensure that both normal and those with risk factors experience a steady growth rate. These charts show that high-risk children, despite growing less than other children, have their own unique growth rate. There are specific growth charts for children with genetic problems (such as Down syndrome), premature infants, and other diseases that may need to be used to assess growth rate.
Are growth charts different for girls and boys?
Assuming a normal pregnancy and delivery, the measurements of newborn boys and girls have a large overlap. As the child gets older, general observations about boys being older than girls become apparent. With age, the height of the parents is reflected in the child of the same sex (for example, tall fathers usually have tall sons). The effect of mother height on son height is less. The height of the mother affects the height of the daughter more than the height of the father.
Girls start puberty about 6 to 12 months earlier than boys. Adolescent girls’ growth spurts occur in the first third of puberty. While the growth spurt of adolescent boys is in the last third of puberty. This causes the growth chart of girls at puberty to initially be faster than that of male peers at puberty.
Is the inconsistency of child growth data with growth charts a concern?
There are several growth chart trends for pediatricians and parents. If the child’s growth statistics are out of the ordinary, a serious assessment of the overall health of the body and possible diseases should be performed. Out-of-chart growth rates occur when a child’s growth rate is less than the 3rd percentile or higher than the 97th percentile. Statistics below the 3rd percentile show that only 1 or 2 out of every 100 children have such conditions. Similarly, statistics larger than the 97th percentile show that only 1 or 2 out of every 100 children have such a growth rate.
Another worrying factor in children’s height and weight charts is the deviation from the child’s previous steady growth chart; This means that even if the growth statistics, ie the growth curve of the child, are on the chart but there is a sudden and unusual change, the doctor should check it; For example, if the child’s weight gain has been consistently in the 50th percentile but suddenly reaches the 85th percentile or suddenly reaches the 10th percentile, the cause should be investigated. In fact, it is the deviation from the unique natural growth rate of the child that will be the concern, not the absolute value of the numbers. Of course, a growth spurt that changes the child’s growth curve is somewhat normal, but it should not be excessive.