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    Growth screening and assessment

    Optimum growth and development of the baby is the prime concern of any parent.


    Multiple factors affect the growth and development of a newborn baby like genetic factors, environmental factors, social factors, and nutritional factors.


    Both Growth and Development words are used simultaneously in explaining the health status of the child. We need to understand that both have a unique meaning and have different screening tools and assessment criteria.  


    Growth is defined as the increase in the number or the size of a cell or organ. 


    Development is defined as the maturation of function of the cells or organs and acquisition of various skills for the proper functioning of an individual.


    The growth and development of every child should be monitored on regular intervals so that the growth lags and developmental delays can be picked up timely and early intervention can be done. 


    Ways to interpret the growth chart findings:


    Growth charts are the standard prepared by the World Health Organization WHO and Indian Academy of pediatrics IAP providing the normal pattern of the growth curve of same age group children in a population.


    The chart provides the results in terms of percentiles. If the value is between 3rd to 97th percentile that means the growth of the child is fine. 


    We encourage to use growth charts at regular intervals. It will help in comparing the values of growth parameters and useful to prepare the growth curve of your child.


    Parents should check and seek medical attention if the child falls under any of the following categories – 


    • If the child’s weight or height does not fall inside the road to health i.e. between the 3rd and the 97th percentile curve 
    • If the child’s height is below the average parental height range
    • If their sudden fall/rise in the weight  
    • If there is no weight or height gain in a period of 3 months  


    Growth monitoring along with immediate management helps in preventing serious illness, malnutrition and even death.


    Child growth screening and assessment helps to have an idea about the general health of the child and reduces parental anxiety.


    References


    Textbook: Ghai Essential Pediatrics (OP Ghai, Vinod K Paul and Arvind Bagga) (Normal Growth and Its Disorder)

    https://www.indianpediatrics.net/mar2007/mar-187-197.html 


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Growth monitoring is a screening tool which helps to check whether your child is growing normally or there is some delay. It is used to detect the cause of delay i.e. nutritional deficiency/excess, chronic diseases or hormonal issues.  It is done by simple measurements of baby growth parameters i.e. weight, height, and head circumference.  (Head circumference measurement is required till 5yrs of age only). 

    The child’s growth is monitored through Growth Charts. These are the standard charts which display the normal growth pattern of a child with age.The growth chart is a visual tool to record and assess the growth parameters of a child. By plotting your child’s measurements on these standard charts on regular interval will help in determining the growth pattern of the child in comparison to the normal growth pattern for his/her age.These standard growth charts are prepared by the World Health Organization WHO and Indian Academy of pediatrics IAP providing the normal pattern of the growth curve of same age group children in a population. Asses the growth status of your child by creating personalized growth charts. 

    Take measurements and mark it in a correct manner accordingly on the growth chart are useful to screen the child for nutritional status and risks. Though, they do not give sufficient pieces of information to examine a child’s growth chart. An overall sequence of weight and length/stature measurements are much more explanatory and accurate in assessing your child’s growth. 

    Therefore, it is suggested to record your child’s growth parameters on regular intervals (as suggested below) to get the accurate information.

    IAP recommends the following time schedule for growth monitoring 

    •  Birth to 18month of age - at immunization contact at 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 months, 6 months, 9months and 15 months. The weight, height and head circumferences need to be measured and charted. 
    •  18month to 3year of age - weight, height and head circumference should be monitored at 6 monthly intervals 
    •  3years to 6year of age - weight, and height is assessed 6monthly  
    •  After 6 years BMI should also be monitored yearly, and Sexual maturation rate should be monitored yearly after the age of 9 years.