A growth chart is a graph used to track a child's growth and development over time. At each of your child's well-child visits, the doctor will measure:
- Length (height). A baby's length is measured while lying down, from the top of the head to the bottom of the foot. Older children are measured standing up with heels against a wall.
- Head circumference (for babies). This is the measurement around the largest part of your baby's head.
These measurements are plotted on a graph according to your child's age and sex.
Growth charts show the consistency of your child's pattern of growth over time. It is important to remember that your child is likely to have growth spurts as well as periods of slow growth, even as a baby. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. For more information about growth charts, go to the website http://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/clinical_charts.htm.
Other Works Consulted
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). Use of World Health Organization and CDC growth charts for children aged 0–59 months in the United States. MMWR, 59(RR-9): 1–15. Also available online: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr5909.pdf. [Erratum in MMWR 59(36): 1184. Also available online: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm5936.pdf.]
Current as of: August 21, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Louis Pellegrino MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics