One of the most important tools for tracking your child’s health and development is to keep track of their height and weight. This is why, when your child visits the pediatrician, one of the first things the pediatrician does is take a height and weight measurement.
Keeping track of height and weight allows you and your doctor to see that your child’s growth and development are on track. Proper growth and development are prime indicators of a child’s wellbeing. Variations in growth can be one of the clearest indicators of disease, malnutrition, and many other serious health issues.
By comparing your child’s height and weight numbers with the percentiles contained in the appropriate chart of height and weight for children, you and your pediatrician can catch many problems early and fix them before becoming a bigger problem.
How to check the Child’s Height and weight?
If you are going to use your child’s height and weight as a way to keep track of their wellbeing, it is important to know how to take your child’s measurements accurately and consistently. That way, when you compare measurement over time, you will know any variation you see is from growth and development and not from inconsistencies in your measuring technique.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has set forth guidelines for measuring your child’s height and weight at home.
When taking your child’s height, any clothing or ornaments, such as shoes, clothing, braids, or hair ornaments that could interfere with the measurement should be removed. It should be taken on an uncarpeted floor and against a flat wall with no molding.
The child should stand, with feet together and shoulders level, against the wall, looking straight ahead, with their heels, buttocks, shoulders, and head touching the wall. Some flat object like a book should be placed on the child’s head at a right angle to the wall and, with the parent’s eyes even with the headpiece, and a mark should be made where the underside of the headpiece meets the wall. This is your height measurement.
Measuring weight is much simpler. It would help if you used a digital scale to be more accurate than an old-fashion spring scale. Place the scale on a hard floor that has no carpet. Have the child take off any shoes and bulky clothing and get on the scale.
Height and Weight Chart for Boys
|Age||Weight (Pounds)||Length (Inches)|
|12 yrs-13 yrs||30.6-35.0||137.7-143.3 |
|14 yrs-15 yrs||37.6-40.9||146.8-153.6|
Height and Weight Chart for Girls
|Age||Weight (Pounds)||Length (Inches)|
|6 yrs|| 16.0||107.4|
|12 yrs-13 yrs||32.8-38.9||139.2-147.4|
|14 yrs-15 yrs||40.3-42.0||151.2-152.4|
How can I tell if my child is overweight?
Childhood obesity is a growing problem with numerous lifelong ramifications for your child. There are several ways to tell if your child is becoming overweight, so you can identify a problem early and take steps to help. Your pediatrician is obviously one of your most important resources.
A good way to track this at home is to check your child’s body mass index(BMI). This is easily calculated using the height and weight measurements you have already taken. The simplest and quickest way is to plug your child’s height and weight into the handy BMI calculator provided by the CDC.
To figure BMI manually, multiply the child’s height in inches by itself, divide their weight in pounds by that number and multiply by 703. The number that results is the child’s BMI. For example, if your child is 60 inches tall and weighs 90 pounds, you would multiply 60×60, resulting in 3600. You would then divide 90 by 3600, giving you 0.025. When you multiply this by 703, you get a BMI of 17.58. You can now take this BMI and compare it to the appropriate CDC Clinical Growth Charts.
According to the CDC, a child less than the 5th percentile is underweight, 85th to less than 95th is overweight, and 95 percentile and over is obese. It is important to understand that BMI is not an infallible measure.
It does not account for children with an unusually high amount of muscle, the sudden weight gain that often precedes a growth spurt or several other factors that may skew the number. Nonetheless, it is an invaluable indicator that a problem may be developing.
When compared to the appropriate chart of height and weight for children, a BMI in either the overweight or obese range should be a signal to a parent to get together with their pediatrician to figure out if there is a problem developing, and, if so, what steps can be taken to help the child.