Children will now get growth charts

Children will now get growth charts

All newborn babies and children up to four years old will have their growth measurements plotted on new charts from this week. The launch of the charts, which have been developed for the Department of Health by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, based on the World Health Organisation's work, coincides with National Breastfeeding Awareness Week (10 - 16 May) and replaces current measures which are based predominately on babies fed with formula milk.

Research shows that breast-fed babies tend to gain weight at a healthier pace and are less likely to become obese in later life. The new charts will play an important role in establishing breastfeeding as the norm and will be included in the Personal Child Health Records, which parents of every newborn are given. 

They will help parents and healthcare professionals identify children at early risk of obesity and provide important reassurance for parents of breast-fed babies, who are likely to gain weight more slowly.

The new charts include parent-friendly instructions and a chart specifically for premature babies. As babies can lose and gain weight at different rates during birth and two weeks, it is recommended that they are not measured during this time. The charts also help make more reliable predictions of a child's adult height.

In this video, Professor Charlotte Wright of the Royal College of Paediatrics explains why the charts have been introduced and how they can help you follow the growth of your baby: