Academy of Pediatrics Recommends Changes to Infant Growth Charts
The Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC are recommending new changes in growth charts for children under the age of two. The changes reflect a return to more traditional feeding habits of newborns and infants, specifically with mothers who recognize the benefits of breast feeding.
Dr. David Zipes, a Pediatric Hospitalist with Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent, says the new growth charts issued by the World Health Organization are based on more current studies comparing breast feed babies to those raised exclusively on formula. Dr. Zipes says, "Twenty or so years ago everybody was a big proponent of formula feeding babies actually growing at a faster rate than breast fed babies. So this is more consistent with what folks are doing today."
Dr. Zipes says the new data changes the way doctors identify children at extreme ends of the spectrum. Many of the older growth charts label children in the lowest five percent and the upper five percent as either underweight or overweight respectively. With the new charts, children are considered underweight if they fall in the bottom two percent. Children should be considered overweight if they they're in the 98th percentile or above.
Dr. Zipes says, "This recommendation came out several years ago and I think there's still a lot of people who aren't using the growth charts. So I think getting the word out and having families ask 'which growth chart are you using? Are you using the World Health Organization growth chart or not?'"