Normal and abnormal growth in childhood
An assessment of a child’s growth should always be based on long-term observation and plotting of growth charts, which must be updated and consulted regularly.The growth of the child should be assessed at every scheduled routine check-up visit at a child health clinic or at school health care.The growth charts and screening rules presented in this article are based on the principles and data that have been in use in Finland for a considerable length of time. New charts based on newly collected data are being introduced and integrated into electronic patient record systems. Normal growth of a child is characterised by consistency. The follow-up of the growth aims at diagnosing and ruling out any treatable conditions. Possible psychosocial consequences of growth disturbances should also be anticipated and treated accordingly. In some cases, growth may be accelerated even in the absence of a specific treatable cause. National guidelines are available in most countries regarding the management of children’s growth disturbances and obesity. A specialist should be consulted early whenever a child’s growth is abnormal and requires assessment and further management. See also article Overweight and obesity in children .