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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2013 Aug;57(2):258-64. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e318298003f.

World Health Organization 2006 child growth standards and 2007 growth reference charts: A discussion paper by the committee on Nutrition of the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition.

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  • 1Jeanne de Flandre Children's Hospital, Lille University Faculty of Medicine, France. dominique.turck@chru-lille.fr

Abstract

Growth charts are essential for evaluating children's health including their nutrition; however, the evaluation of child growth trajectories and consequently the decision to intervene are highly dependent on the growth charts used. The aim of this discussion paper of the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition Committee on Nutrition is to provide information on the background and rationale of the World Health Organization (WHO) 2006 child growth standards and WHO 2007 growth reference charts, describe their development, outline their main innovative aspects, discuss potential limitations, and make recommendations. WHO 2006 child growth standards (0-5 years) are based on prospectively collected data describing the growth of healthy infants who were breast-fed according to WHO recommendations, showing a pattern of linear growth, which is remarkably consistent between different countries and ethnic groups. WHO 2007 growth reference charts (5-19 years) are based mainly on a re-analysis of National Centre for Health Statistics data from 1977, without information on feeding. European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition Committee on Nutrition recommends that WHO child growth standards should be used to monitor growth in all children in the age range 0 to 2 years in Europe, whether breast- or formula-fed, and that they should be considered to be used in the age range 2 to 5 years. Implementation of the WHO child growth standards should be preceded by evaluation of the implication of their use on national healthcare policies. Health professionals should be guided on their use and interpretation and an adequate communication strategy should be available locally to ensure that parents receive clear and consistent advice. The decision on whether to implement the WHO growth references (5-19 years) should be made by national bodies because the growth pattern during the 5- to 19-year period differs between populations.

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