How to determine children's height & weight percentiles

Written by veronica summers
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How to determine children's height & weight percentiles
Measure your child's height and weight at home to determine growth percentiles. (scale image by PinkShot from Fotolia.com)

A child's height and weight for his age is a critical indicator of your child's overall health. Your paediatrician closely monitors your child's growth at annual well-child visits and provides you with percentile figures showing how your child's weight and height compares to other children of the same age and sex. However, you may have concerns between paediatrician visits. In this case, measure and weigh your child at home. Then, use the height and weight to determine your child's growth percentiles.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Yardstick or tape measure
  • Scale
  • Computer with Internet access

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Stand your child on a level surface, such as a hardwood or ceramic floor, against a wall. Position your child so that his feet are together, his back is straight and his shoulders are against the wall.

  2. 2

    Position a ruler across the child's head and against the wall. This ensures that her hair is pushed down and not part of the measurement.

  3. 3

    Place a pencil where the ruler meets the wall and make a small mark.

  4. 4

    Move the child away from the wall.

  5. 5

    Measure from the floor to the pencil mark on the wall. For small children, use a yardstick. For older children, use a tape measure.

  6. 6

    Note the height in inches on a piece of paper.

  1. 1

    Place a scale on a hard surface, such as a hardwood or ceramic floor.

  2. 2

    Remove the child's shoes and any excessive clothing. Thin clothing will give you the most accurate measurement of your child's weight.

  3. 3

    Stand your child on the scale.

  4. 4

    Jot down your child's weight on a piece of paper.

  1. 1

    Access the Internet and navigate to the CDC growth charts at "http://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/." These are the official government growth charts used by paediatricians in the United States.

  2. 2

    Find the "CDC Clinical Growth Charts" in the "Growth Charts" box on the right side of the web page. Click on the first link "2000 CDC Growth Charts for the United States: Methods and Development." A .pdf file will download containing the research methodology for the growth charts.

  3. 3

    Navigate to page 19 in the References section of the .pdf to begin viewing the growth charts for weight. You may need to scroll a few pages to find the specific chart for your child's age-range and sex.

  4. 4

    Find your child's age in months along the bottom of the page, then move your fingers upward until you find your child's weight. Locate the diagonal line where your fingers meet on the age and weight and read the percentage noted on the diagonal line.

  5. 5

    Navigate to page 21 in the References section of the .pdf to begin viewing the growth charts for height. You may need to scroll a few pages to find the specific chart for your child's age-range and sex. Depending on the age of your child, the height charts may be titled "Length" for younger children and "Stature" for older children.

  6. 6

    Find your child's age in months along the bottom of the page, then move your fingers upward until you find your child's height. Locate the diagonal line where your fingers meet on the age and height and read the percentage noted on the diagonal line.

Tips and warnings

  • If your child's height or weight percentiles have dramatically changed since your last paediatrician's visit, schedule a follow-up with your doctor to rule out any health issues.

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