Assessing your child’s growth

After completing measurements it is important to try to identify trends, or patterns, of growth for your child. Please follow the below steps to assess your child’s growth.

Important notes:

  • If you own a child weight and height growth chart with previous growth measurements plotted (i.e. from your previous medical appointments), new measurements should be plotted on the existing growth chart to provide you with a trend

 In this case, please skip step 1 and move directly to step 2.

  • If you do not have a child weight and height growth chart start plotting all growth measurements on a new growth chart

In this case, please follow all the below steps.

Reminder: If you have previous measurements (i.e. from your previous medical appointments) but these have not been plotted on a growth chart, please plot all growth measurements together on a new growth chart and follow all the below steps.


Step 1. Use WHO Growth Charts

Use the World Health Organization (WHO) growth charts in the link below, or WHO-based local country growth charts, which may be obtained online from your country’s local health department.

Choose the appropriate chart for your child based on their age and gender:

a) Gender adapted child weight and height growth charts:

Note: For home growth measurements, it is best to focus on 2 categories of charts: Weight-for-age and Height-for-age

b) Age-adapted child weight and height growth charts:

  • Weight measurement & age: weight for age graph according to age
  • Height measurement & age: height for age graph according to age

Step 2. Plot your measurements on the relevant growth chart and identify growth trends or patterns

Find the age on your child’s growth chart first (this will be on the x-axis/the line at the bottom of the chart) and use a ruler to help guide you to plotting the weight/length/height (on the y-axis/the line on the left hand side on the chart) that correspond to the child’s measurements. Please see the example below.

Note: It is important to establish your child’s age in weeks accurately. It is easier to use an online age calculator to obtain the exact age in weeks for a young baby, to ensure that the plotting of growth is as accurate as possible.

Example 1:

Boy, 5kg weight, 6 weeks of age

Use the weight-for-age growth chart and plot the points as outlined above

nutricia-pediatric-drm-growth-graph-weight-for-age-boys-birth-to-6-months.jpg

Example 2:

Boy, 3 different measurements over time as shown below

9 months: 8kg, 13 months: 9kg, 18month: 9kg

The chart opposite shows the growth measurements of a boy plotted on a weight-for-age chart at 3 different times over the course of a year (at 9 months, 13 months, 18 months). 

nutricia-pediatric-drm-growth-graph-weight-for-age-boys-6-months-to-two-years-z-scores.jpg

Step 3. Interpreting growth trends/plotted points

Before you start to interpret a growth trend, it is important to understand:

  1. The curved lines on the graph are reference lines that will help you interpret the plotted points and identify trends or patterns.
  2. The line labelled 0 on each chart represents, the average. The other curved lines are z-score lines, they indicate difference from the average either lower {-1 to -3}, or higher {+1 to +3}. Being higher or lower than average is not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing, it is more important to see if your child’s growth is changing pattern.

Defintion of Z-score curves

Above 2,3 Significantly above average
Above 1 Moderately higher than average
Above 0 Average
Below -1 Moderately lower than the average
Below -2, -3 Significantly lower than average

Interpretation of weight/growth trends scenarios

Growth trend Action Examples below
Child is growing well in weight for age, following the same line Your child is growing well. Continue to measure growth and observe for any different trend that may develop Example 1
Child is dropping 1 or more z-score(s) in weight for age (crossing from 1 z-score line to the line below) Closely monitor and contact your HCP Example 2
A child that is gaining weight and is going up 1 or more z-score(s) (crossing from 1 z-score line to the line above) Closely monitor and contact your HCP Example 3
A child is growing between z-score lines, but has not yet changed z-score Closely monitor and contact your HCP if you are concerned Example 4

Note: Please look at the 4 below examples and familiarize yourself with the method in order to better support you with the identification of your child’s growth trends or patterns

Example 1: Weight-for-age BOYS, 6 months to 2 years (z-scores)

nutricia-pediatric-drm-growth-graph-weight-for-age-boys-6-months-to-two-years-z-scores-3.jpg

Example 2: Weight-for-age BOYS, 6 months to 2 years (z-scores)

nutricia-pediatric-drm-growth-graph-weight-for-age-boys-6-months-to-two-years-z-scores-2.jpg

Example 3: Weight-for-age BOYS, 6 months to 2 years (z-scores)

nutricia-pediatric-drm-growth-graph-weight-for-age-boys-six-months-to-two-years.jpg

Example 4: Weight-for-age BOYS, 6 months to 2 years (z-scores)

nutricia-pediatric-drm-growth-graph-weight-for-age-boys-6-months-to-two-years-z-scores_1.jpg
nutricia-pediatric-drm-growth-baby-weighing-scale.jpg

Weight and length/height measurement if your child is <2 years

Learn step by step how to measure your child’s weight and length/height if your child is below 2 years of age and when measuring equipment is available at home.

nutricia-pediatric-drm-growth-child-on-digital-scale.jpg

Weight and length/height measurement if your child is >2 years

Learn step by step how to measure your child’s weight and length/height after the age of 2 and when measuring equipment is available at home.