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Measurement of growth in children

Sarah M Phillips, MS, RD, LD
Robert J Shulman, MD
Section Editor
Kathleen J Motil, MD, PhD
Deputy Editor
Alison G Hoppin, MD


The goal of nutritional assessment in childhood is to determine if there are growth abnormalities that point to the presence of an underlying disease, and also to prevent nutritional disorders and the increased morbidity and mortality that accompany them. To meet these goals, pediatric clinicians must know the risk factors for obesity and malnutrition and must understand the normal and abnormal patterns of growth and the changes in body composition during childhood and adolescence. In addition, they must be able to accurately perform and interpret the results of the nutritional evaluation.

Nutritional assessment is the quantitative evaluation of nutritional status. A comprehensive nutritional assessment has four components:

Dietary, medical, and medication history

Physical examination

Growth, anthropometric, and body composition measurements

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 04, 2017.
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