Weight and height percentile

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Weight and height percentile

Template:Search infobox Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Weight and height percentiles are determined by growth charts and body mass index charts to compare a child's measurements with those of other children in the same age group. By doing this, doctors can track a child's growth over time and monitor how a child is growing in relation to other children. There are different charts for boys and girls because their growth rates and patterns differ. For both boys and girls there are two sets of charts: one for infants ages 0 to 36 months and another for children ages 2 to 20 years old.

Children with failure to thrive usually have a weight that is below the 3rd or 5th percentile for their age and a declining growth velocity (meaning they are not gaining weight as expected) and/or a shift downward in their growth percentiles, crossing two or more percentiles on their growth charts.

Recently it has come to light that current growth charts for infants under 24 months overstate the expected weight of babies and lead to potentially obese children. This is because the original charts produced in 1977 were based on samples of middle class white American babies on high protein bottle fed diets in Ohio. The World Health Organisation has altered these targets in 2006 to represent a more healthy weight. [1]


  1. New Scientist, 29 Apr 2007, p 6

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