Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Overview of the CDC Growth Charts

Using the CDC Growth Charts
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6. Using the CDC Growth Charts

Nutritional Status Indicators

The nutritional status indicators for the CDC Growth Charts include obesity, overweight, underweight, and short stature.

Percentiles are used to rank an individual or a group on a growth chart and indicate where either fits in the context of the reference population.

The definition of nutritional status indicators recommended for use to screen children using the 2000 CDC Growth Charts are listed below:


> 95th Percentile



> 85th and < 95th Percentile


< 5th Percentile



< 5th Percentile

Short Stature*

*WHO Expert Committee, Physical Status: The use and interpretation of anthropometry. World Health Organization. 1995.

An appropriate reference population, accurate measurements and age calculations are important factors when assessing childhood growth. Comparing body measurements to the appropriate age and gender specific growth chart enables pediatric health care providers to monitor growth and identify potential health or nutrition related problems.

For detailed information on using the 2000 CDC growth charts, the instruction guide on Use and Interpretation of the CDC Growth Charts provides six steps to follow.

For detailed information on the prevention and treatment of childhood overweight and obesity, the American Academy of Pediatrics provides an online portal with the latest clinical information as well as tools and resources to support health care professionals effectively address obesity prevention, assessment and treatment.

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