One of the greatest joys of life is being a parent. However, given today’s nuclear family set-up and balancing the work and private life, one of the rising concerns for many parents is their child’s proper growth. While providing nutrition is on the top of the list of all parents, proper physical growth still is a concern. World Health Organization (WHO) has made standard height and weight growth charts available for parents.
In this article, we will learn more about these charts and how to read.
What is the growth chart?
Before we dwell into the topic, it is essential to understand that children grow at their own pace. However, there is a wide range of healthy shapes and sizes among children which can be – tall, short, big, and small.
Factors such as genetics, gender, nutrition, physical activity, health problems, environment, and hormones all play a massive role in determining a child’s height and weight. Hence, it is necessary to understand that a seaming underweight child may not necessarily unhealthy.
Child growth charts predominantly help you track the growth of your child on two main parameters:
Generally, child growth charts are a standard part of your child’s check-ups. These charts show how your child is growing as compared to other children of his/her age and gender. The chart also indicate the pattern of a child’s height and weight gain over time and help to determine if they are growing proportionately.
Doctors use a child growth chart to figure out if a child’s height and weight measurements are “healthy”. These charts also help them to see if there are any medical problems which affect the growth of a child. However, it has been a long misconceived notion that doctors can only read child height and weight charts. But, in this article, we will decode the child height-weight chart for you and tell you how to use it.
How to read a child height and weight chart?
World Health Organization (WHO) has prescribed a standard height and weight parameters for children of all ages. This parameter change for different ages and gender. However, before we speak more about how to read a chart, it is important to understand that every child grows at a different pace. Don’t panic if there’s a slight difference in measurements of your child and the ones prescribed by WHO. Consult your paediatrician if the difference is huge.
Here’s how to read a child height and weight chart:
Take the measurements for all the columns such as height and weight.
Refer the WHO chart for ideal measurements. WHO has two charts – one for boys and the other for girls
Check the charts:
In the chart, the green line indicates healthy growth. Which means for the ages 2-5 years ideal weight for both boys and girls is 22kgs – 24kgs. The standard height for boys is between 87cms to 110cms, whereas for girls, the height can be between 85cms – to a bit less than 110cms. The -1 on the left side of the chart indicates that your child is under the weight, and the standard 1 stated that your child has exceeded the weight slightly. However, if your child is at -3 or 3, or exceeds these numbers, then consulting a paediatrician is wise.
It is typically observed that physically active children are generally underweight. So, if your child is physically active and doesn’t meet the standard child height and weight chart readings, he/she is not malnourished.