# Case Example 1: Low Weight-for-Length

Maya is a healthy 9-month-old girl who was exclusively breastfed for 6 months and continues to breastfeed. Maya’s mother began feeding her solid foods at 6 months of age. Maya’s mother reports that Maya “is a good eater”.

Maya has seen her health care provider on a regular basis. Her weight and length measurements were recorded and plotted on the growth chart at each visit.

Date Age (months) Weight (pounds) Length (inches)
11/14/2009 Birth 6.25 20
1/14/2010 2 9.25 22.25
3/19/2010 4 12.25 24.6
5/17/2010 6 13.75 25.75
8/21/2010 9 16.0 28.0

## Comparing Length-for-Age and Weight-for-Age Plotted on the WHO and CDC Growth Charts

Length-for-age and weight-for-age are important in early infancy for monitoring growth and helping to explain changes in weight-for-length.

## Using the WHO and CDC Length-for-Age and Weight-for-Age Growth Charts

Maya’s length and weight measurements are plotted on the WHO and the CDC length-for-age and the weight-for-age charts. On the WHO and the CDC length-for-age charts, Maya’s length follows a centile curve and shows that her length relative to her age is within the healthy range. On the WHO and the CDC weight-for-age chart, Maya’s weight follows a centile curve and shows that her weight relative to her age is within the healthy range.

Comparing Weight-for-Length Plotted on the WHO and CDC Growth Charts
WHO Weight-for-Length Growth Chart

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CDC Weight-for-Length Growth Chart

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Using the WHO Weight-for-Length Growth Chart

When Maya’s weight-for-length measurements are plotted on the WHO weight-for-length growth chart, her measurements fall above the 2nd percentile curve for the first 4 months of age and fall above the 5th percentile at 6 and 9 months of age.

Given her current measurements, Maya’s weight-for-length is considered to be within the healthy range.

True
False

## Using the CDC Weight-for-Length Growth Chart

When Maya’s weight-for-length measurements are plotted on the CDC growth charts, her growth pattern falls below the 5th percentile curve for the first 9 months of age.

Comment: On the WHO weight-for-length chart Maya’s measurements fall above the 2nd percentile, which is within a healthy range. On the CDC weight-for-length chart Maya’s growth drops to below the 5th percentile, which indicates low weight-for-length. Fewer children will be identified as low weight-for-length on the WHO charts resulting in potentially fewer children being referred for additional assessments.

Page last reviewed: April 15, 2015