Assessment of growth in weight, length and head circumference is an internationally accepted measure of health and nutritional status of infants, albeit not an indicator that is nutrient specific. The interpretation of growth measures requires comparison with reference data from normal populations of infants that have been complied into growth charts with centiles indicated. The growth charts from the Center for Disease Control in the United States as revised in 2000 (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/nhanes/ growthcharts/charts.htm), were adopted for use in the USA and Canada as well as by the World Health Organization (WHO) for use internationally. The growth charts as shown in Figures 1-6 may be downloaded from the CDC website and copied. Weight gain of exclusively breast fed infants is more rapid than formula-fed infants in the first 2 to 3 months but they weigh less from 6 to 12 months. The longitudinal data that form the basis of the growth charts for infants from birth to 36 months growth represent a mix of both breast and formula fed infants from the American population. A Working Group of WHO has undertaken a project to develop growth charts specifically for exclusively or predominantly breast fed infants but these are not yet available.
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