Growth in children

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A good growth in height and weight can easily and reliably control the state of health of a child.

Just to properly assess the height-weight development there are growth curves (growth percentiles) that comparing the weight and height of the child with other children of the same age to determine if he is normal.

The normal value of height and weight is never an exact number, but falls within a range of intermediate values ​​between a maximum and a minimum, that is, between the 3rd and the 97th percentile.

Should be also considered that in these growth phases, body development is not always the same process and that there are periods in which the growth takes place at a higher speed (the first years of life and puberty) and periods “of slowdown” in which growth undergoes slight variations.

There are different growth charts for babies and children from 2 years old, for males and females. In practice, if a child’s stature is at the 10th percentile means that 10% of other children of the same age is smaller than him, while 90% is higher. So, for all ages and for each measurement, the 97th percentile represents the older children: only 3 of 100 will be larger and the remaining 97 will be smaller, while the 3rd percentile represent the young children and the remaining 97 will be larger.

They are usually considered normal children growing up between the 10th and the 90th percentile, the fact remains that those that grow on the upper or lower corners are abnormal or sick. It is also desirable that the growth curve is not too far above or below the average: 50 percentile.

The rate and extent of growth depend not only on dietary factors but also by genetic, hormonal and emotional factors that are independent of the food.

If growth continues on its curved harmoniously, do not worry. The situation changes if the growth rate is set at the higher (90°) or lower (10°). In these extreme cases, will be the Pediatrician to make sure that there are not conditions of risk (metabolic or hormonal excess or deficiency), or real pathologies that may have influenced the growth in one direction or another.

Another situation that needs attention is when the child suddenly changes its path of growth and moving from one level of growth to ‘other, increasing or losing percentiles.

Even in this situation will be your Pediatrician to identify the causes that could interfere with growth, slowing it down or speed it up.


– Cacciari E, Milani S, Balsamo A, Spada E, Bona G, Cavallo L, Cerutti F, Gargantini L, Greggio N, Tonini G, Cicognani A. Italian cross-sectional growth charts for height, weight and BMI (2 to 20 yr). J Endocrinol Invest 2006 29(7):581-93.
– Bertino E, Spada E, Occhi L, Coscia A, Giuliani F, Gagliardi L, Gilli G, Bona G, Fabris C, De Curtis M, Milani S. Neonatal anthropometric charts: the Italian neonatal study compared with other European studies. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2010 51(3):353-61.