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In typical children, head circumference, weight and height follow the same growth lines. Keeping a record of these measurements over time will help you and your healthcare provider to understand your child’s individual growth pattern. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your child’s growth.1
Your child’s growth is influenced by genetic and environmental factors, including gestational age, birth weight, type of feeding (breast or formula), parental stature, environment, nutrition, physical activity, chronic illness and special healthcare needs.2
Growth charts allow a doctor to compare your child’s growth curve with those of other children. To measure growth curve, the doctor takes regular height measurements from birth to 18 months, and then every year up to puberty.3
“Normal growth” falls between the 3rd and 97th percentiles. Children with GHD have slowed growth that is not within what’s considered normal for their age.
Your healthcare team will help to verify accuracy of measurement by ensuring your child is weighed and measured appropriated, in the same conditions and on the same scale. Nutritional history and a medical evaluation should also be part of your child’s growth assessment.
A calculation of mid-parental height can help to estimate a child’s genetic growth potential:
For boys, (father’s height + mother’s height) / 2 + 6.5 cm +/- 8.5 cm
For girls, (father’s height + mother’s height) / 2 – 6.5 cm +/- 8.5 cm
Whether or not children fall within the limits of their growth potential, they should be assessed for potential medical conditions when their growth pattern is abnormal.4
Parents and caregivers are best suited to monitor a child’s growth. Parents and caregivers should regularly weigh and measure their children as an essential component of their care. As children mature, they can monitor their own growth with the help of a parent or caregiver.5
1. “Is My Child Growing Well?” Dietitians of Canada. Available online here
2. A Health Professional’s Guide to Using Growth Charts. Paediatr Child Health. Mar 2004; 9(3): 174–176. Available online here
4. Valérie Marchand; Canadian Paediatric Society, Nutrition and Gastroenterology Committee Paediatr Child Health 2012;17(8): 447. Available online here
5. Promoting Optimal Monitoring of Child Growth in Canada. Collaborative Public Policy Statement. Dietitians of Canada and Canadian Paediatric Society 2010. Available online here