Measuring physical growth of your child using centile charts

Physical growth in children can be measured in different ways. The best way to record a child’s growth is to use a Centile (or Percentile) Chart. Centile charts are specially prepared charts that are used to record measurements of a child’s growth. When measuing physical growth there are centile charts for:
* weight
* height
* head circumference

A centile chart for weighing girls.

A centile chart for weighing boys.

Preparing your child’s centile chart
Preparing your child’s own centile chart is a very simple task. All you need to do is gather your child’s data by measuring weight height or head circumference at frequent intervals, say.. every month or every alternate month and plot the data on your child’s centile chart. You can prepare the centile chart using the WHO Anthro software or in MS Spreadsheet on your computer ( as we have done with the charts on your left) or if you want to keep it simple, you can plot it on a piece of paper and attach it your child’s medical file and take it along whenever you visit your child’s pediatrician for his/her opinion.

It is important to remember that there can be a wide variation in measurements and that such variations are quite normal. Average measurements provided by The WHO Child Growth Standards are often useful as they provide a guide when measuing children. Look at the centile chart for weighing boys and girls (left). You will see that the age of the baby is shown along the bottom of the chart; while the weight in kilograms is shown along the left-hand side of the chart. The line on both the charts represents the average weights for both boys and girls as per WHO standards. Keeping that as the baseline (for weights only), plot your child’s actual value on the x and y axis to complete the centile chart.

Why measure growth?
Recording your child’s measurement regulartly on a centile chart will produce a new line on the chart. This new line will show the progress of your child. It will also show the relationship of your child’s measurement to other children of the same age and sex.

Frequent and correct plotting/measurement will help identify any anomalies in the child’s growth and take necessary remedial/corrective actions quickly.

Keep plotting away to a healthy child! 🙂

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