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Advance Data No. 314 — December 4, 2000

Return to CDC Growth Chart Reference Population

Table 1. United States growth charts and data sources

ChartAge (months) or
height (cm) range
Primary data sources1Supplemental data sources
Weight-for-ageBirth to 36 monthsNational surveys 3–52National birth certificate data from United States Vital Statistics2
Length-for-ageBirth to 36 monthsNational surveys 3–52,3Birth certificate data from Wisconsin and Missouri State Vital Statistics2,4 CDC Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System data for birth to 5 months2
Head circumference-for-ageBirth to 36 monthsNational surveys 3–52Fels Longitudinal Study data2
Weight-for-length45–103 cmNational surveys 3–52,5Birth certificate data from Wisconsin and Missouri State Vital Statistics2
Weight-for-stature77–121 cmNational surveys 3–55None
Weight-for-age24 to 240 monthsNational surveys 1–55None
Stature-for-age24 to 240 monthsNational surveys 1–5None
BMI-for-age24 to 240 monthsNational surveys 1–55None

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 setYearsData sourceSubject ages (months)1SexChart variable2
Primary data sets     
NHES II.1963–65National survey72.0–145.9M, FW, S, BMI
NHES III1966–70National survey144.0–217.9 M, FW, S,
NHANES I1971–74National survey12.0–23.9M, FL
   12.0–35.9M, FHC
   18.0–305.9M, FS
   18.0–305.9M, FBMI3
NHANES II1976–80National survey6.0–35.9M, FL, HC
   18.0–305.9M, FS
   18.0–305.9M, FBMI3
NHANES III1988–94National survey3.0–35.9M, FL
   2.0–35.9M, FHC
   2.0–71.9M, FW
   18.0–305.9M, FS
   18.0–71.9M, FBMI3
Supplemental data sets     
United States Vital Statistics1968–80;
Birth certificatesBirthM, FW
State of Wisconsin Vital Statistics1989–94Birth certificatesBirthM, FW, L4
State of Missouri Vital Statistic1989–94Birth certificatesBirthM, FW, L4
Fels Longitudinal Study1960–94Hospital records†Birth M, FHC
Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System
(selected clinics)
1975–95Clinic records0.01–4.9M, FL

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.