Menu ENN Search

New WHO Growth Standards for 0-5 years

The WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study (MGRS) was undertaken between 1997 and 2003 to generate new growth curves for assessing the growth and development of infants and young children around the world.

The MGRS collected primary growth data and related information from approximately 8,500 children from widely different ethnic backgrounds and cultural settings (Brazil, Ghana, India, Norway, Oman and the USA).

The new growth curves are expected to provide a single international standard that represents the best description of physiological growth for all children from birth to five years of age and to establish the breastfed infant as the normative model for growth and development. The standards describe normal child growth from birth to 5 years under optimal environmental conditions and can be applied to all children everywhere, regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status and type of feeding.

The first set of the WHO child growth standards (0-60 months) will be released in April 2006 for the following indicators:

These charts are complemented by windows of achievement for the following six gross motor milestones: sitting without support, standing with assistance, hands-and-knees crawling, walking with assistance, standing alone, walking alone.

A second set of growth standards will be available later for the following indicators: arm circumference-for-age, head circumference-forage, subscapular skinfold-for-age, triceps skinfold- for-age. Subsequently, child growth velocity standards will be developed for length/height, weight, BMI, arm circumference, head circumference.

The new growth standards will help interpret anthropometric indices and growth surveillance in all contexts

A training course is under development on skills required to use and interpret the growth charts, and when to intervene if a child is experiencing deficient or excessive growth. The course is designed for use over 4 days and targets child health care providers. Online links permit users to download or view an anthropometry training video, which describes the MGRS measurement procedures and how to calibrate the measuring equipment. It is available in English, French and Spanish.

Software (WHO Anthro 2005) will also be available containing an anthropometry calculator, individual assessment, nutritional survey and a questionnaire development tool. The software (Windows PC and PocketPC/PPC) will be available in English, French and Spanish. It will be released simultaneously with the official launching of the WHO child growth standards in April 2006.

A copy of the training video as DVD or VHS (in NTSC or PAL format) can also be ordered from the following address: Dr Mercedes de Onis, World Health Organization, Department of Nutrition 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland

The new growth standards will be launched at the WHO website, see

More like this

FEX: Letter on WHO 2006 Growth Standards, by Marko Kerac and Andrew Seal

This new 2006 WHO Growth standards: What will they mean for emergency nutrition programmes? Dear Editor Whilst welcoming the principles which have driven the development of...



Just an FYI ... The R langage functions to add z-scores using the WHO standard and WHO references...

FEX: Undersized Indian children: nutrients-starved or hungry for development?

Summary of research 1 Location: India What we know: The WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study (MGRS) growth curves provide a single international reference for...

FEX: New WHO growth standards

This New WHO Growth Standards for infants and children up to 60 months of age, highlighted in Field Exchange 27, are now available. The standards were developed using data...

FEX: WHO growth reference for children and adolescents

Summary of published research1 The need for a widely applicable growth reference for older children and adolescents has increasingly been recognised by countries attempting to...

en-net: Recording low birth weight and considering it in SAM diagnosis of infants under 6 months

From Massimo Serventi: Dear All, I apologize if I submit a question that has been already answered in the past. I currently work in North Sudan, children with severe...

FEX: MUAC vs WHZ in predicting mortality in hospitalised children under five years of age

Summary of research1 This research contributes to the evidence base regarding which anthropometric indicators identify malnourished sick children most at risk of death. Low...

FEX: Improving patient assessment: The ‘MOYO’ Weight-for-Height Chart

By Marko Kerac and Andrew Seal, UCL Centre for International Health & Development, UK We are pleased to include with this edition of Field Exchange, a complementary copy of...

FEX: A growth reference for MUAC-for-age among school age children and adolescents and validation for mortality

Summary of research1 Location: Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe What we know: An internationally accepted reference for mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) does not exist for...

FEX: International foetal growth standards: one size fits all

Summary of published paper1 and comment2 Location: Global What we know: Foetal growth is an important determinant of infant, child and longer term health. Ultrasound is used...

en-net: Analysis of survey data

Analysis of survey data in EPI INFO 6 and SMART (both against NCHS reference) seems to give different results. Has anyone else faced with the same problem? What is the reason?...

en-net: body shape in children under 24 months old

It's been pretty well documented now that pastoralists in low, hot regions have a lower SSR than neighboring agrarian groups. But the only information I can find relates to...

en-net: Urgent: Weight for Height Z-scores: Unisex Z-score table used in West African countries vs. calculated Z score values

In the 2011 Guidelines for THE INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT OF SEVERE ACUTE MALNUTRITION published by ACF, Annex 4 depicts a Weight-for-Height table. This same table has been adopted...

en-net: Anthropometric data of children 6-24 from Africa using Stata

I am using Stata for analysis my data from Africa focusing on children aged from 6 to 24 months and need to calculate MUAC-for-age z-score and WAZ.

I found...

FEX: Developing regional weight-for-age growth references to optimise age-based dosing of anti-malarials

Summary of research1 Location: Global What we know: Age is often used as a proxy for weight in anti-malarial drug dosing. Accurate knowledge of the weight-for-age...

en-net: Tableau de l'OMS pour les enfants de moins de cinq ans


I have few questions about WHO charts indicated below.

1. Why are Weight-for-length and weight-for-height charts separate?
2. Why does weight-for-length...

en-net: malnutrition rate

Dear All, Urgently want to know in any nutritional survey what is the difference we can expect in the percentage of SAM children we will find using WFH criteria and with MUAC...

en-net: New app to calculate the size of babies using the INTERGROWTH-21st Standards

A free computer application has now been released to enable clinicians and researchers to determine, simply and quickly, centiles and z scores at birth for weight, head...

en-net: Automatic WHZ calculation in excel database

I would like to introduce a automatic calculation of WHZ in a CMAM program patient database where I have the needed variables (gender, length/height and weight). Does anyone...

en-net: screening criteria for Low birth weight children in malnutrition

please, is there a definite criteria for identifying LBW and preterms for malnutrition? If not can we have a way of classifying them with both MUAC cut-off and the...


Reference this page

New WHO Growth Standards for 0-5 years. Field Exchange 27, March 2006. p20.



Download to a citation manager

The below files can be imported into your preferred reference management tool, most tools will allow you to manually import the RIS file. Endnote may required a specific filter file to be used.