Growth of children is an important concerning issue for parents, specially if their child is lagging behind other pears. We will discuss physical growth of children, in terms of weight, height and head circumference. First of all, every child could not be physically equal. Their growth will depend upon race, sex, environmental factors including social and economic background and genetic factors including physical built of parents.
Ideally growth of children should be monitored by various growth charts available with pediatrician, most common one is WHO growth chart for weight,height, head circumference, weight for height etc. For a broader idea weight of infants becomes double of birth weight by 5 months of age, triple by 1 year of age. After one year of age their weight increases 2 kg every year up to 7 years then approx. 3.5 kg every year till 12 years of age. After 12 years their weight gain varies widely depends upon onset of puberty, food habits vs physical activity.
Similarly, height of child grows 25 cm in first year (becomes around 75 cms), 12.5 cm in 2nd year and become 100 cm by 4 years of age. Overall height of child is approximately attain the mid-parental height, which is calculated as (height of mother + height of father)/2; + 13 for boys and – 13 cm for girls.
Growth of head circumference is most important during 1 year of life as some congenital malformation/ birth related events can manifest earlier and picked up on serial monitoring of head circumference. It is important for preterm baby also to monitor normal head growth. Normally head circumference will increase by 2 cm in first 3 months of life then 1 cm/month in next 3 months and 0.5 cm/month in second 6 month of 1st year. A total 12 cm growth is expected in first year.
Weight for height is monitored for relative growth of weight against height specially for short stature children and estimation of BMI ( Body mass index), which is a indicator of under nutrition and obesity.
During routine check-up and immunization session we use to monitor growth of infants and appropriate advice is given. If growth is sluggish or faster both are abnormal and further investigation is warranted to diagnose the exact cause, which will help in the management.