Menu ENN Search

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 collected in the Multi Centre Growth Reference (MGRS) study. They describe normal child growth from birth to 5 years under optimal environmental conditions and can be applied to all children everywhere, regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic status and type of feeding.

The new standards differ from any existing growth charts in a number of ways:

The WHO continues to recommend the use of the NCHS/WHO international growth reference for children older than 5 years. The new standards do not affect anthropometric measures, indicators, cut-offs, etc, for adolescents, adults, pregnant adults, and the elderly.

The new growth standards will have implications for emergency nutrition programming, especially for screening, prevalence estimation and monitoring/evaluation.A paper by WHO comparing growth patterns and estimates of malnutrition based on the WHO Child Growth Standards and the NCHS/WHO reference is currently in press1. This analysis highlights important differences between the WHO standards and the NCHS reference that vary by age group, growth indicator, specific percentile or z-score curve, and the nutritional status of index populations. Particularly relevant for emergency contexts, the analysis identifies increased prevalence of wasting and severe wasting using the new growth standards, in infancy (2.5 - 3.5 times the estimates based on the NCHS references) and also throughout childhood (1.5 to 2 times the NCHS based estimate). The operational implications for emergency nutrition programming are not explored in this paper but are highlighted in a detailed letter submitted to Field Exchange (see this page).

The standards and associated software are available on the WHO website www.who.int/childgrowth. Training and sensitisation will be taking place in various parts of the world during this year.

For further information, contact: Dr Mercedes de Onis, World Health Organization, Department of Nutrition, 1211 Geneva 27 Switzerland. Telephone: 41-22-791 3320. Fax: 41-22-791 4156. E-mail: deonism@who.int

Show footnotes

1de Onis M, Onyango A, Borghi E, Garza C, and Yang H. Comparison of the WHO Child Growth Standards and the NCHS growth reference: implications for child health programmes. Public Health Nutrition, 2006 (in press).

More like this

FEX: 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...

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...

FEX: Algorithms for converting NCHS references

Summary of published research1 One of the challenges thrown up by the development and introduction of the new WHO growth standards is that surveys using the new growth...

FEX: Impact of WHO Growth Standards on SAM response to treatment

Summary of published research1 More younger admissions to therapeutic feeding programmes are one of the implications of moving to the new WHO Growth Standards. A recent study...

FEX: Management of severe malnutrition: a manual for physicians and other senior health workers

World Health Organisation, 1999 By Jean Long, Course Co-ordinator International Health, Trinity College Dublin Malnutrition remains one of the most common causes of morbidity...

FEX: Impact of WHO Growth Standards on programme admissions in Niger

Summary of research1 Severely malnourished children managed in the MSF-run Centre de Récupération Nutritionnelle Intensive (CRENI) in Maradi, Niger A recent study by...

FEX: The practical implications of using z-scores: Concern's experience in Angola

by Beth Matthews, Maureen Billiet (Concern field staff Angola) Annalies Borrell (Concern chief nutritionist Dublin). In children the three most commonly used anthropometric...

en-net: SE Asian Growth Standards

Hi, Does anyone have information on growth standards for SE Asia, specifically for Vietnam. The WHO growth standards are great reference points for assessing growth, and I know...

FEX: Fact sheet on implementation of 2006 WHO Child Growth Standards

The IASC Global Nutrition Cluster and Standing Committee on Nutrition (SCN) Task Force on Assessment, Monitoring, and Evaluation have recently released a fact sheet on the...

FEX: WHO/TALC materials on the Management of Severe Malnutrition

Given the recent debate and rapidly evolving developments in the management of severe malnutrition, knowledge of current guidelines and training materials and how to access...

FEX: WHO Global Database on Child Growth and Malnutrition

WHO is continuing to build up its 'Global Database on Child Growth and Malnutrition'. This is a standardised compilation of child growth data from population-based nutritional...

FEX: Effectiveness of Integrated Outpatient Care of Severe Acute Malnutrition in Ethiopia

By Martin Eklund and Tsinuel Girma Martin Eklund holds an MSc in Clinical Nutrition from the University of Copenhagen. His specialisation is community-based management of...

FEX: WHO Guiding Principles on Feeding Non-Breastfed Infants

WHO has just issued a booklet, Guiding principles for feeding non-breastfed infants, 6-24 months of age, which provides health workers with a grounding in the principles...

FEX: Factors influencing deviance in growth of children in rural West Bengal

Summary of MSc Thesis1 By Chandrashekhar Pandey and Rosalyn O'Loughlin This study may have some relevance to emergency situations where there is variation in the growth...

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...

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...

FEX: Collecting Evidence for Community Based Treatment of Severe Malnutrition

The Child and Adolescent Health Department and the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development of WHO, in collaboration with the Standing Committee for Nutrition of the...

FEX: Can anthropometry measure gender discrimination?

Summary of published research1 A baby girl in Bangladesh. Sex differences in life expectancy and child survival in Bangladesh have been attributed to discrimination against...

FEX: WHO Growth Standards to assess Indonesian children < 2 years

Summary of published research1 A recent study set out to assess the implications of adopting the WHO Child Growth Standards to classify Indonesian children according to...

FEX: 2011 Edition of the Sphere Handbook Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response

Farmers association level consultation at Chuko, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNPR) province, Ethiopia, August 2009 By Susan Thurstans, Paul Turnbull, Devrig...

Close

Reference this page

New WHO growth standards. Field Exchange 28, July 2006. p15. www.ennonline.net/fex/28/newwho