UK-WHO growth charts - guidance for health professionals

The UK-WHO growth charts provide a description of optimal growth for healthy, breastfed children. Anyone who measures a child, plots or interprets charts should be suitably trained, or be supervised by someone qualified to do so. Here are some resources for healthcare professionals about the charts and how to use them.

Measuring guidance

  • When weighing children use class III electronic scales.
  • Weigh babies naked and weigh toddlers in vest and pants, without shoes.
  • When measuring the head circumference use a narrow tape, either paper or plastic.
  • When measuring the length of a child, shoes and nappy should be removed and appropriate equipment is essential, such as a length board or mat (applicable up to 2 years of age).
  • When measuring height of a child shoes should be removed and a rigid rule with T piece or stadiometer should be used (applicable from 2 years of age).

Plotting guidance

  • Plot in pencil.
  • Record measurements and date in ink.
  • Age errors are the most common source of plotting errors.
  • Centile describes the percentage expected to be below that line.
  • A child is on a centile if within 1/4 space of the line or between the two centiles if not.
  • A centile space is the distance between two centile lines.

Video guidance

How to weigh children:

How to weigh children who don't want to be measured:

Measuring procedure for height:

How to measure supine length:

Measuring procedure for head circumference:

Measuring height in overweight children:

Fact sheets and educational materials

You can download below more specific guidance below, for different age groups (newborn infants, preterm infants, toddlers) and close monitoring, and how to measure and plot. Please note these date from 2009.

These materials can be freely downloaded and used without charge as long as their source is acknowledged in any publication or products using them and they are not used for the purposes of advertising or promoting other products. Users may not themselves claim any IP rights over them or seek to restrict use of them by others. The materials are copyright © 2009 Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which should be reproduced on any copies you make or distribute.