Growth Charting for Youth

Young boy trying to make himself taller with watering can measuring his growth in height against a blackboard scale

Many parents feel like they blink, and they’re children have grown from infants to adults. Adolescence comes and goes so quickly, and, with it, height and weight increases. To track the growth of children and determine if they are developing too slowly, too quickly, or just right, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have charts for standard growth. The recommendation is to track infants to children of age two with WHO growth charts and children age two and older with CDC growth charts.

The growth charts created and provided to the public by the CDC and the WHO have been assembled through many hours of research and study. The charts are specific to the age and sex of children. To view these charts in all of their specificity, visit the website: https://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/.

For an overview of growth in phases of infancy, parent.com is a good source. Newborns, for instance, lose five to ten percent of total body weight in the first few days of life due to the loss of fluid that accompanies the changing of diapers. The baby should be back to its birthweight by the second-week doctors’ visit, and the birthweight should be doubled by the six-month mark.

Once a child reaches one year in age, growth slows slightly. Gains of around half of a pound per month are expected with four to five inches of height anticipated as well. By age two, pediatricians are able to make fairly accurate predictions of the little one’s adult height.

Preschoolers, ages three and four, grow around three inches annually and gain four pounds per year. Baby fat also starts to subside around this time as limbs grow. At age five a pattern begins and carries through until the child reaches puberty. Growth of two inches and four pounds annually becomes the pattern and the expected norm.

Though these statistics stand on average, every child is different. Some grow quicker than others, some keep their baby fat longer than others, and many other factors. Each child is unique, and that is one of the things that make them so special. If you do have concerns about your child’s growth, however, contact your pediatrician.