The CDC Growth Chart Reference Population
Used to Create the Growth Charts
and ethnic distribution in the reference population is representative
of the U.S. population at the time each of the NHES and NHANES surveys
of a CDC analysis of the 1980 census provide a reasonable basis
for describing racial/ethnic representation in the growth reference.
In 1980, 74 percent of U.S. children under 20 years of age were
White, non-Hispanic; 14 percent were Black, non-Hispanic; 9 percent
were Hispanic; 2 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander; and 1 percent
were American Indian/Alaskan Native (Census
CDC promotes one set of growth charts for all racial and ethnic groups.
and ethnic-specific charts are not recommended because studies support
the premise that differences in growth among various racial and ethnic
groups are the result of environmental rather than genetic influences
(Lusky, 2000; Mei,
Yip, Trowbridge, 1998; Martorel,
Mendoza, Castello, 1989). Also, the reference population lacked
sufficient numbers of specific racial and ethnic groups to consider
graph shows the prevalence of low height-for-age or stunting of
recently immigrated refugee children from Southeast Asia in the
early 1980s (yellow line) compared to white children (red line).
By the 1990s, the prevalence of low height-for-age had declined
among Asian children and heights for age were almost identical
to that of white children in the United States. This study illustrates
the effect of environmental factors on growth. Changing socioeconomic
status often is associated with improved growth.