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Growth charts boost child BMI accuracy

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Experts at the Royal College of Paediatrics have developed new growth charts designed to boost accuracy when measuring children’s height and weight.

Child Health was also involved in the project to create more “simple, accurate and relevant” charts for those aged between two and 18 years.

Healthcare professionals will make use of innovative features such as a BMI lookup and plotting grid and scales to compare young adults’ height with their mums and dads.

Data from the WHO growth standards up to the age of four is combined with UK 1990 growth reference charts from four to 18.

The new features will allow nurses and other healthcare workers to establish a child’s BMI much easier than under previous methods, which called for calculations to be cross-referenced against charts.

Also streamlined is the process for predicting whether a child will be of a similar height to their parents. The new scales will do away with the need for complicated calculations.

Project lead, Professor Charlotte Wright, professor of community child health and a consultant paediatrician at Yorkhill hospital in Glasgow, said: “The new charts allow doctors and nurses to quickly identify any abnormalities in a child’s development based on some very simple height and weight measurements. The charts will be simpler to use, while producing information that is more relevant and more accurate than ever before.”

The charts are for use by healthcare professionals, but equivalent charts for parents to use at home are due to launch later in the year.

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