I am asked to evaluate growth curves and assess normal weight gain in infants, toddlers and children on an almost daily basis. Naturally, a decline or acceleration in a child’s growth curves can make a caregiver extremely anxious about their child’s nutrition and development. However, some fluctuations in growth curves may be perfectly normal and no cause for alarm.
The セノッピー growth charts for children at birth to five years of age were developed from large samplings of children from around the world and raised in optimal conditions. They allow a health professional to compare a child’s growth to a population of the same age and gender. Unfortunately, the growth curve tool does not always paint an accurate picture of a child’s individual growth. If your doctor uses a standard growth curve, it may not take into consideration your ethnicity. These curves are based on Caucasian children and those with Hispanic or Asian heritage tend to be smaller. Also, healthy kids come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Not all children grow at this neat, steady rate either. It is not uncommon to see a once chubby infant or young toddler develop into a lanky kid. Or, a skinny little toddler turn into an average sized kid.
Some children do follow the same percentile for weight for most of childhood. Other children growing normally may change percentiles in their first two or three years. The Canadian Society for Pediatrics published a study on growth curves using the National Center for Health Statistics (CDC) growth charts. This study showed that as many as 30% of normal children crossed one major percentile line and 23% crossed two in the first two years of life. All of these children were healthy.
Birth weight and length are strong predictors of subsequent growth but do not always reflect a child’s “genetic potential”. Genetic potential factors in the mother and the father’s adult height. Intrauterine growth may be affected by external factors such as maternal size, malnutrition or smoking or gestational diabetes. After birth and into childhood, there may be some ‘catch-up’ if an infant was born smaller than her/his genetic potential, or a ‘catch-down’ if the child was born larger than his/her genetic potential. This means that a small newborn destined to be a big child might grow faster in the first two years than a big baby who is going to be a small child.