Sponsored by PediaSure®
Does your kid seem to be lagging behind their peers in regard to their height and weight? Are they usually the smallest or the shortest in their class? Then it might be time to talk to a pediatrician about a growth plan.
Why Does Your Child Need A Growth Plan?
Getting enough nutrients is particularly essential during your child's early years of development since these years are critical times for both cognitive and physical growth, as well as emotional and social development. In fact, making sure your kid gets proper nutrition and gets enough exercise to fuel their transition from a toddler to an elementary schooler should be one of your main goals as a parent!
It Starts With A Growth Chart (For Parental Peace Of Mind)
Of course, every child is different and grows at their own pace. However, knowing what's normal so you can benchmark your kid's growth against the standards is definitely helpful, even if it is only for your own peace of mind.
A growth chart like the ones shared by our partner PediaSure® displays curved lines that represent the expected pattern of gains in weight and height (or length) for children growing as expected. Each curved line represents what is known as a percentile. Percentile curves are indicated at 5%, 10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 90%, and 95% (click the image for more info and background).
Growth Chart Example Via PediaSure®
Your pediatrician is likely to talk to you about the percentile of your child’s height and weight at each regular check-up. If your kid isn't measuring up to the expectations or is in the low percentiles, your pediatrician might recommend that you work together to development a growth plan for your child.
What Do Growth Charts Measure?
Growth charts are used to compare your child's height, weight, and head size against children of the same age.
Growth charts can help both you and your health care provider follow your child as they grow. These charts may provide an early warning that your child has a medical problem.
Growth charts were developed from information gained by measuring and weighing thousands of children. From these numbers, the national average weight and height for each age and gender were established.
The lines or curves on growth charts tell how many other children in the United States weigh a certain amount at a certain age. For example, the weight on the 50th percentile line means that one half of the children in the United States weigh more than that number and one half of the children weigh less.
WHAT GROWTH CHARTS MEASURE
Your child's provider will measure the following during each well-child visit:
- Weight (measured in ounces and pounds, or grams and kilograms)
- Height (measured while lying down in children under age 3, and while standing up in children over age 3)
- Head circumference, a measurement of the head size taken by wrapping a measuring tape around the back of the head above the eyebrows
Beginning at age 2, a child's body mass index (BMI) can be calculated. Height and weight are used to figure out the BMI. A BMI measurement can estimate a child's body fat.
Each of your child's measurements is placed on the growth chart. These measurements are then compared with the standard (normal) range for children of the same gender and age. The same chart will be used as your child grows older.
Creating A Growth Plan: Learn From The Experts
While tons of experts have weighed in on the subject of childhood nutrition, it's always important to see what your pediatrician has to say on the subject. And the guidelines aren't too different for kids and adults - eat nutrient dense, relatively unprocessed foods, and avoid things like refined sugars and saturated fats.
And do you think your kid is behind in growth because they're not getting the nutrition they need? Try our partner PediaSure®'s various products - they might be the solution if your kid isn't moving up the growth chart percentiles as quickly as they should be - but of course, check with your pediatrician first!