WHO Growth Standards

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has adopted 'Weight for Age' WHO Standards for nutritional assessment of children at the Anganwadi Centre and has revised the Growth Monitoring Charts. The New Growth Chart has three colour tracks in contrast to the earlier classification of Normal, Grade I, Grade II, Grade III, and Grade IV. In the New Growth Chart, the lines have been shifted and Grade I Et Grade II have been merged together (now termed as 'moderately underweight'), shown by a yellow track. Below the yellow track, there is an orange track which comprises Grade III and Grade IV children (now termed as 'severely underweight'). 'Normal children' are represented by the green track. Some salient features of the new WHO growth standard are as follows:

  • New standards are based on breastfed infants while the old standards were based on mixed fed children.
  • New Standards emphasise how a child should grow in contrast to the earlier descriptive approach of how children are growing.
  • The clear evidence of the accuracy of the New WHO Child Growth Standards suggests that children below six years have the same potential to grow and develop as long as their basic needs for nutrition, health and environment are met.
  • In the New WHO Growth Standards, growth trajectory is gender specific and based on internationally accepted classifications.

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