Growth Indicators to Track Growth in Children
Hello parents! I hope you all are doing good. In today’s post, I will be writing about the ‘Growth Indicators in Children in India.’ And how to use these growth indicators to determine your child’s growth.
Have you ever faced a situation when someone close in your family pointed out that you are not feeding your child well? Because according to them, your seemingly happy & healthy child looks so weak.
Or, has it ever happened when a random someone declared that your child is too skinny or too short for his age? And then blurted out that unsolicited advice that should help your child gain weight or height.
I have been through this phase. And I know how it feels when someone judges you or your child. I made several visits to the pediatrician just to cancel out these doubts even though I knew those claims were baseless.
If you, too, get easily stressed out in such situations. Or, you start doubting yourself that you are not doing good enough for your child’s proper growth & development. Then this post is for you.
I am thankful to my son’s pediatrician for suggesting use a growth chart to track our son’s growth. My child’s regular growth monitoring made me sure that there’s nothing to worry about his weight & height.
Thus, I feel it is important for every parent to know about the growth indicators, cognitive milestones, and developmental red flags; because this can save you from unnecessary stress. If there’s any deviation in growth (sharp incline or decline in growth line), you can intervene & take timely action. And once you know that your child is growing right, what others say won’t bother you anymore.
I have already talked about the ways to ensure that your child is growing right. Now, let’s talk about the growth indicators in children.
How to Use Growth Indicators to Monitor Growth in Children in India?
I started monitoring my son’s growth myself using the growth charts after he turned a year old. Keeping track of his growth at home not just helped to recognize that he’s growing well but in understanding his health & nutritional status.
It is recommended to measure height & weight monthly during the first year, every 2 months during the 2nd year, and every 3 months thereafter, up to the age of 5-6 years.¹
I know that even if my boy is skinny, it’s not a matter of worry as his weight is in the expected range.
The following indicators are the three main growth indicators in children in India and are to be plotted on a line graph as x-axis & y-axis, as you can see in Nemit’s chart. The curved lines called percentile on the graph are used as the reference lines. In India, we use the new WHO Child Growth Standards (2006) for children.
1 – Weight for age
Low weight for age would mean that the child is not gaining the optimum weight as per his/her age. Similarly, overweight for age can point towards obesity, a common lifestyle problem in kids of this generation. Regular tracking & monitoring of weight can help the parents in determining the nutritional status of their child.
2- Height for age
Like weight, measuring & monitoring height vs. age can help determine any underlying health condition that may be causing the delay in growth. Nutrition is an important factor influencing a child’s growth and health.
3- Proportional growth
This indicator reflects the body weight in proportion to attained height. This can help identify low weight for height (undernourished) and high weight for height (overweight) issues in children. Both of which are concerning situations for young children.
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Understanding the growth indicators in children is #FirstStepToGrowRight. Online tools nowadays are quite easy to understand and use. I found this to be true with PediaSure’s tracker. You can try it too. All you have to do is input your child’s details in the Grow Right tracker and find out for yourself how they’re doing. Now that I’ve begun using it, tracking has never been simpler. If I have any concerns, I can always download the report and show it to the doctor and clarify my doubts. You need not worry or get confused about growth charts when you have such a simple online tool. My biggest learning has been how tracking children’s growth gives so much insight on the further steps you can take for their development!