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:

Anthropometric Index Percentile Cut Off Value Nutritional Status Indicators
BMI-for-age > 95th Percentile Obesity
BMI-for-age > 85th and < 95th Percentile Overweight
BMI-for-age < 5th Percentile Underweight
Stature-for-age < 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 sex 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 Cdc-pdf[PDF – 324KB] provides six steps to follow.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight provides pediatricians and other health care providers with the latest clinical information, as well as tools and resources to support health care professionals in effectively addressing obesity prevention, assessment, and treatment at the point of care.

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