New growth chart for babies
Dr. Lisa Dana
posted: July 26, 2012, 12:08 pm
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are recommending the newWorld Health Organization (WHO) growth chart to measure all children under the age of 2 in the United States. This growth chart will replace the CDC growth chart that has been used since 2000.
The WHO growth chart is unique in that it:
1. Reflects the normal growth curve of a breastfed infant.
According to the CDC: “The WHO charts reflect growth patterns among children who were predominantly breastfed for at least 4 months and still breastfeeding at 12 months.”
2. The WHO growth chart is a better reflection of physiological growth in infancy.
3. The new charts are the result of a worldwide high quality study designed specifically to create growth charts.
More from Dr. Dana: Healthy eating habits for your toddler
The WHO study included approximately 8500 children from many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The data was collected from children in Brazil, Ghana, India, Norway, Oman and the USA. The goal of the study was to create new growth curves by evaluating the growth and development of infants and toddlers around the world.
The new WHO growth charts can be accessed at CDC.GOV/Growthcharts.
I believe the most important feature of these new curves is that they use the breastfed infant as the norm for growth. This is very different from the CDC growth charts that are based on the growth curves of American children 20 years a go. These old CDC charts were developed when infant formula was popular and was introduced as a fashionable and healthy option for American babies.
Medscape notes that a major difference with the new growth chart is that “unhealthy growth patterns are defined by the 2nd and 98th percentiles rather than the commonly used 5th and 95th percentiles.” This will decrease the number of babies that are considered underweight.
Babies who are breast fed, tend to gain weight at a slower rate than formula fed babies. The new charts will also be able to identify babies who gain weight too rapidly, and alert the physician to discuss health and nutrition for babies who may be at risk for becoming overweight.
More from Dr. Dana: Eating well early improves IQ
After age two, the CDC growth charts are recommended. These charts include age and weight percentiles, as well as BMI (Body Mass Index) for age charts.
More from BabyCenter: Child Growth Calculator
The advice provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical diagnosis, advice or treatment for specific medical conditions
Proud Navy Wife since 1/10/06; Mother to McKenna since 12/11/08, McKaela since 5/27/10 & Maisie since 8/15/11.
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