A growth chart tracks children’s development overtime. Many parents, especially first-time parents, can get overwhelmed and unnecessarily worried about their child’s development. But understanding how to read a growth chart can help alleviate those concerns. Here, we take the mystery out of the growth chart for boys.
What is a growth chart?
A growth chart is a graph that includes a child’s height, weight, and head circumference. Body mass index may also be part of the equation, depending on the child’s age. Not only do these graphs show how the child is developing over time, but they also show how the child’s measurements compare to other children of the same age and sex. As the child ages and more measurements are taken, the growth chart will represent developmental trends so that his pediatrician can make sure he is on track.
Why do boys have a unique growth chart?
Boys and girls have unique growth charts because they grow at different rates. A boys’ growth chart will typically represent a slightly longer and heavier baby from the start because baby boys tend to be a bit bigger. Once puberty nears, girls have growth spurts before boys. So when you’re purchasing a height weight chart, boys will need their own.
How do you read a height and weight chart (boys)?
On a growth chart, the X axis represents time or age, and the Y axis represents their measurement. In other words, the youngest age starts at the left, and more points are added to the right as they age. The lower points represent smaller measurements, and the higher points represent larger measurements. Be sure to check the title left of the growth chart to determine whether the graph is showing height, weight, head circumference, or body mass index.
How do you interpret height and weight trends?
Height and weight trends can help determine the rate of growth, as well as the timing of growth spurts. As long as the child continues to grow, doctors are not usually worried. If the child is losing weight or not growing, the doctor will consider if there’s an issue with the child’s diet and activity level, or simply a pause before a growth spurt.
What do percentiles mean on a growth chart (boys)?
Percentiles show where other children are located on the growth chart. For example, if a child is in the 20th percentile, that means that 20 percent of other children that age are the same size or smaller, and 80 percent are larger. It is not necessarily important which percentile a child is in, but it is a concern if a child is rapidly dropping percentiles.
With a growth chart, boys can get excited about their own progress and parents can ensure that everything is happening right on schedule. But while growth charts are a good measure of a child’s development, try not to compare your child with others. All children are unique and grow at their own rate. With the help of a pediatrician, a growth chart is a useful tool to track your child’s development.