Growth curve of a girl, compared to the 2006 WHO curves. A growth chart is used by pediatricians and other health care providers to follow a child’s growth growth charts cdc pdf time. Growth charts have been constructed by observing the growth of large numbers of normal children over time.
The height, weight, and head circumference of a child can be compared to the expected parameters of children of the same age and sex to determine whether the child is growing appropriately. Growth charts can also be used to predict the expected adult height and weight of a child because, in general, children maintain a fairly constant growth curve. When a child deviates from his or her previously established growth curve, investigation into the cause is generally warranted. For instance, a decrease in the growth velocity may indicate the onset of a chronic illness such as inflammatory bowel disease.
Growth charts can also be compiled with a portion of the population deemed to have been raised in more or less ideal environments, such as nutrition that conforms to pediatric guidelines, and no maternal smoking. Charts from these sources end up with slightly taller but thinner averages.