Send to

Choose Destination
J Med Screen. 1995;2(3):164-7.

Can we measure growth?

Author information

Wessex Growth Study, Department of Child Health, Southampton General, United Kingdom.


Poor installation and maintenance of height measuring equipment is a serious problem in the community. With care, however, height can be measured with sufficient precision (+/- 0.5 cm) to identify unusually short or tall stature. Height velocity, on the other hand, is liable to misinterpretation. It cannot be estimated with sufficient precision to identify abnormal growth in the short term. There is no correlation between two successive 12 month velocities. When a trend towards poor velocity is beyond all doubt then it will be apparent on the height chart alone. In addition, "poor" or "excessive" growth is conditional on the height of the child: short children do not grow at the same rate as tall. A diagnosis of abnormal growth requires long term monitoring and is best seen as a series of height measurements crossing the centiles on the height chart. Given the correct equipment and training, height or length can be measured with a fair degree of precision in the youngest of children. The earlier measurements begin, the sooner an abnormal pattern of growth will become evident. The regular monitoring of height should be standard practice and available to each and every child.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center