Child Growth Through The First Five Years
A discussion of the normal and healthy child growth, weight gain and height of infants and children through the age of five years.
For parents, it is relieving to know that your child is developing normally. Not only mentally, but physically. For most new parents it is difficult to accept that your child is normal and healthy when he or she seems to be underweight or shorter than his or her peers. The following paragraphs will touch on what a normal weight and height should be. If your child seems to look unhealthy to you, in any way, you should consult your physician or health care professional.
An infant is considered at nutritional risk if he or she is born anywhere between 3.5 pounds (1500 grams) and 5.5 pounds (2500 grams). An infant normally loses around 10 percent of his or her body weight in the first few days of life. This is considered normal and not a problem unless the weight is not regained in the following 3 weeks. When the baby visits a health care professional, the NCHS Growth Chart will be used to determine if the infant is developing normally according the length, weight or age and head circumference. For older children, the NCHS Growth Chart will use height to age, weight to age and weight to height measurements. Measurements below the 10th percentile range are considered at high risk for poor nutritional status. The goal for a child that is at this range is to undergo nutritional rehabilitation to increase to the higher percentile range. The normal range is between the 25th and 75th percentile. When a child is above the 75th percentile range he or she is at risk for being overweight. In this case, the goal is to for weight to remain stable until height increases. This will bring the infant or child into normal ranges.
From birth through the first year, birth weight should double in the first 4 months of age and triple by the first birthday. Total weight gain in the first year should be about 15 pounds (7 kilograms). The following years, after age 2, the child will grow an additional 2.5 pounds per year until he or she reaches adolescence. Average weight gain from age 2 to adolescence the child will gain approximately 5 to 6 pounds per year.
Length increases by 50 percent by the first year or age or approximately 10 inches. From 1 year of age to 2 years of age, the child will grow an additional 5 inches.
Remember that anytime that an infant or child does not seem to following the above approximate averages, a health care professional should be consulted further.