Tracking children's growth


Background

The way children grow says a lot about their health. Growing too fast or slowly can indicate that there may be a health problem. For this reason, health professionals recommend that growth of infants, children and teens should be tracked over time by a doctor, nurse or dietitian.

Tracking growth includes measuring head circumference (for infants and toddlers), as well as measuring weight and height at regular intervals. It also includes comparing these measures with standard growth charts. These measures help to show if a child is growing well or if there may be a problem.

Position

Dietitians of Canada worked collaboratively with other national health professional groups of family doctors, paediatricians and community health nurses to develop recommendations about proper growth monitoring in infants, children and teens. These recommendations included:

  • Using the growth charts developed by the World Health Organization and adapted for Canada for all infants, children and teens.
  • Monitoring growth as a routine part of health care for all Canadian infants, children and teens.

As of March 2014, the WHO Growth Charts Adapted for Canada are recommended by the Canadian Paediatric Society, Canadian Pediatric Endocrine Group, College of Family Physicians of Canada, Community Health Nurses of Canada, Dietitians of Canada, and the Rourke Baby Record (2014).

Actions

  • DC led the group of health professionals in developing the collaborative statement Promoting Optimal Monitoring of Child Growth in Canada: Using the new WHO Growth Charts (2010) and disseminated it widely to members of these professional groups and the media.
  • Extensive resources were developed for health practitioners and care givers to facilitate implementation and support appropriate use of the growth charts.
  • In March 2014, the collaborative group was reconvened and expanded; design issues that had emerged after 2010 were addressed. The redesigned WHO Growth Charts Adapted for Canada were reissued and are publicly available at www.whogrowthcharts.ca.
Resources:

Measuring Children

Watch a video on how to accurately weigh and measure infants and children.


     

WHO Growth Charts for Canadagrowth standards and growth references for boys and girls in Canada.

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