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We are up to the one month visit – and this is a great time to explain the phrase you often hear us refer to: GROWTH PERCENTILES. From birth through the time they transition to an adult provider, we regularly monitor your child’s growth; height and weight, and during early childhood we also measure and track their head circumference. In order to assess growth patterns over time – these measurements get plotted on growth charts that give us the”percentile” for each measurement. The way I explain the percentile charts to parents is that they are a statistical tool to help us track a child’s growth pattern over months and years. For example, a one month old whose weight is at the 20th percentile would weigh more than 19% -and less than 79% – of other one month olds in the general population. For Pediatricians, we are watching the trend of the percentiles over time to make sure there is not a significant decline, whether over time, or suddenly. We are not expecting everyone to be average or at the 50th percentile, or at the top of the chart for their age; rather we use these values to gauge steady growth. If a 2 year old’s height is at the 15th percentile – are they too short? Well, if their weights have generally been in the 10-20 percentile range (or lower) at prior visits – then they are growing at a steady pace and as the Pediatrician I am happy – especially if their parents have a similar genetic make up. However – if that child previously measured at much higher percentiles, their growth has clearly slowed and we need to consider why there was this change. Interpreting and following these growth charts is not a simple process and it takes training and experience but I hope I was able to explain the basics. We also use percentile charts to assess Body Mass Index (BMI) as kids get older – but we will discuss that in the future. Later this week I will talk more about some of the other findings we assess at the 1 month visit. Have a great day…Dr Aronson