Advance Data No. 314 — December 4, 2000

Table 1. United States growth charts and data sources

Chart Age (months) or
height (cm) range
Primary data sources1 Supplemental data sources
Weight-for-age Birth to 36 months National surveys 3–52 National birth certificate data from United States Vital Statistics2
Length-for-age Birth to 36 months National surveys 3–52,3 Birth certificate data from Wisconsin and Missouri State Vital Statistics2,4 CDC Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System data for birth to 5 months2
Head circumference-for-age Birth to 36 months National surveys 3–52 Fels Longitudinal Study data2
Weight-for-length 45–103 cm National surveys 3–52,5 Birth certificate data from Wisconsin and Missouri State Vital Statistics2
Weight-for-stature 77–121 cm National surveys 3–55 None
Weight-for-age 24 to 240 months National surveys 1–55 None
Stature-for-age 24 to 240 months National surveys 1–5 None
BMI-for-age 24 to 240 months National surveys 1–55 None

1Survey 1=NHES II, Survey 2=NHES III, Survey 3=NHANES I, Survey 4=NHANES II, Survey 5=NHANES III.
2Excludes birth weight less than or equal to 1500 gm.
3Excludes data from NHANES III for ages less than 3.5 months.
4Wisconsin and Missouri were the only States with available data from birth certificates.
5Excludes data from NHANES III for ages greater than 72 months.


Table 2. Data sets used to construct the United States growth charts, by age of subject and growth chart variable

Data set Years Data source Subject ages (months)1 Sex Chart variable2
Primary data sets          
NHES II. 1963–65 National survey 72.0–145.9 M, F W, S, BMI
NHES III 1966–70 National survey 144.0–217.9  M, F W, S,
NHANES I 1971–74 National survey 12.0–23.9 M, F L
      12.0–35.9 M, F HC
      12.0–281.9 M W
      12.0–245.9 F W
      18.0–305.9 M, F S
      18.0–305.9 M, F BMI3
NHANES II 1976–80 National survey 6.0–35.9 M, F L, HC
      6.0–281.9 M W
      6.0–245.9 F W
      18.0–305.9 M, F S
      18.0–305.9 M, F BMI3
NHANES III 1988–94 National survey 3.0–35.9 M, F L
      2.0–35.9 M, F HC
      2.0–71.9 M, F W
      18.0–305.9 M, F S
      18.0–71.9 M, F BMI3
Supplemental data sets          
United States Vital Statistics 1968–80;
1985–94
Birth certificates Birth M, F W
State of Wisconsin Vital Statistics 1989–94 Birth certificates Birth M, F W, L4
State of Missouri Vital Statistic 1989–94 Birth certificates Birth M, F W, L4
Fels Longitudinal Study 1960–94 Hospital records† Birth  M, F HC
Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System
(selected clinics)
1975–95 Clinic records 0.01–4.9 M, F L

1Data beyond the 2–20 years range for the child/adolescent charts were used to improve estimates at the upper and lower age boundaries. The final child/adolescent growth charts were truncated to extend only from 2.0 through 19.99 years (24.0–239.99 months). Subject ages, shown for growth chart variables, reflect the endpoints of age ranges for data actually used to construct the smoothed percentile curves.
2W=weight; S=stature; BMI=body mass index; L=length; HC=head circumference.
3BMI (wt/stature2) includes lengths at ages 18.0–23.99 months, and stature at all other ages.
4Data from Wisconsin and Missouri were used at birth for the length-for-age and weight-for-length charts, but were not used in the infant weight-for-age charts (see also table 1).
†Measured in hospital by Fels staff.