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growth chart

Are you worried that your child will grow up too slow?

The growth chart can help put things in perspective.

 Pediatricians have different tools that they can use to measure your child's health. One of the best is the growth chart.

Sometimes it can be difficult to understand all those lines and numbers that these tables have; If you've been confused to interpret them, don't worry, she's not alone. Dr. Antonio Rojo, Medical Manager at Abbott, shares valuable information on how to decode and understand your child's growth chart.

A window to your child's health

The growth charts[1] It may seem irrelevant to you, but it contains key information for the health of your children because growth is an indicator of many aspects of their well-being, such as their cognitive development, immunity and nutritional status.

One size doesn't fit all

Growth charts use different measures known as percentiles, which are used to compare weight, height and, in the case of babies, head size, with those of other children of the same age and gender. The lower the percentile, the smaller the child. For example, if your child is in the 75th percentile for height, that means he is taller than 75% of children his age. Children of average height for their age according to the WHO Child Growth Standards would rank in the 50th percentile.

It is natural to assume that the taller a child is the better, but it is not necessarily the case. Many factors influence a child's size, including genetics, nutrition, and even their environment. Therefore, instead of focusing on a specific data, pediatricians are much more interested in the individual growth trend of each child.

For example, a child who has consistently been in the 30th percentile for height or weight may be experiencing perfectly healthy growth; however, if that number suddenly fell to the 15th percentile or below, the pediatrician would need to do more research on the cause.

Adding the numbers

Because children experience different growth rates based on their age, there are two types of charts. The first is designed for babies up to 2 years old, while the other is for children and young adults between the ages of 2 and 20.[2].

Consider that at each visit, your child's pediatrician will measure his height and weight to analyze the growth trend. Then you will plot the results in the table; But now you don't have to wait until the next appointment to know and interpret these results, you can download the graphs used to interpret the results yourself.

Dr. Rojo explains how to do it:

  1. Identify a growth chart[3] on the site of some health institution.
  2. Locate your child's age at the top of the table. Then draw a vertical line from the top to the bottom.
  3. Next, find your child's height or weight on the left side of the chart. Draw a horizontal line from left to right.
  4. Make a point where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect.
  5. Find the curve closest to the point; this is your child's percentile.

Note that if your child is stunted, your pediatrician will need to determine if there is cause for concern and / or provide suggestions to help support healthy growth, including recommendations on how to incorporate additional calories and nutrients into the child's diet. small. One option that I might suggest is to recommend an oral nutrition product, now there are options that contain 7 grams of protein and 27 vitamins and minerals per bottle and that have also been clinically shown to help children grow.

Your family pediatrician may have additional suggestions on ways to promote healthy growth for children. If you're ever concerned that your little ones are falling behind, or if you just have questions about how to support their healthy growth, don't hesitate to make an appointment with your pediatrician.

[1] Weight and Height Calculator.

[2] National institute of pediatrics. Growth assessment.

[3] National institute of pediatrics. Growth assessment.

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