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Guidelines for estimating age in young children

The FAO have recently produced guidelines for estimating the month and year of birth of young children.

Several core food security and nutrition indicators require child age for their construction, e.g. anthropometric indicators such as weight-for-age and height-for-age, and infant and young child feeding indicators such as continued breastfeeding at one year. The guidelines are intended for health care workers, survey trainers and others who need to collect accurate information on child age in situations where there is no accurate written record of date of birth or a tradition of remembering birth dates. The WHO Anthro software package (www.who.int/childgrowth/software) is designed to accommodate the cases in which only the child's month and year of birth are obtainable.

Due to the widespread use of anthropometric indicators in children under five years of age, these guidelines and many of the examples provided are tailored for use in this context. However the basic principles of age estimation can also be applied in other contexts such as for evaluating feeding and care practices of infants and young children or for use with age groups over five years.

The guidelines include:

Annexes include example of a completed calendar of events, role play dialogues and standardised digit recording.

Download the FAO Estimating the Month and Year of Birth of Young Children Guidelines at http://www.fao.org/docrep/011/aj984e/aj984e00.htm

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Reference this page

Guidelines for estimating age in young children. Field Exchange 36, July 2009. p16. www.ennonline.net/fex/36/guidelines