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Advantages of Using the WHO Growth Charts to Assess the Growth of Children from Birth to Aged 2 Years

The WHO standard charts use growth of the breastfed infant as the norm for growth.

  • The WHO standards bring the tools used to assess growth and national guidelines that recommend breastfeeding as the optimal infant feeding method into agreement.1
  • The WHO standards are based on high-quality data collected for children younger than aged 2 years
  • The WHO growth standard charts were created with longitudinal length and weight data measured at frequent intervals.2-3
  • The CDC growth reference charts were based on cross-sectional length and weight data. However, weight data were not available for infants aged birth to 2 months, and the sample sizes were small for sex and age groups during the first 6 months of age.4


1American Academy of Pediatrics. Policy Statement. Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics. 2012:129(3):e827-e841.

2de Onis M, Garza C, Vicotra CG, Onyango AW, Frongillo EA, Martines J; for the WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study Group. The WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study: planning, study design, and methodology. Food Nutr Bull. 2004;25(suppl 1):S15-S26.

3World Health Organization. WHO Child Growth Standards: Length/Height-for-Age, Weight-for-Age, Weight-for-Length, Weight-for-Height and Body Mass Index-for-Age: Methods and Development. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2006.

4Kuczmarski RJ, Ogden CL, Guo SS, Grummer-Strawn LM, Flegal KM, Mei Z, et al. 2000 CDC growth charts for the United States: methods and development. Vital Health Stat 11. 2002;(246):1-190.