Do parents understand growth charts?

It doesn’t take mental math to read a growth chart…or does it? According to an article in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pedatrics,  many parents do not understand the data on their childd’s simple growth chart.

The researchers survey of 1,000 parents (selected to be demographically representative of the U.S. population) found that most parents think they understand their child’s growth chart well. They think it’s important for health care professionals to share growth charts with them so they can see how their child is growing.

But only 64% could identify a child’s weight when shown a plotted point on a growth chart. And although 96% had heard the term “percentile,” only two-thirds could identify the percentile of the plotted point. As many as three-quarters incorrectly interpreted the charts containing height/weight measurements in tandem.

Trained home visiting professionals, such as a Parents as Teachers parent educators, can help parents track, monitor and understand their children’s development and growth.