Experts say growth charts not measuring up

AUSTRALIA lags behind over 140 countries in adopting WHO childhood growth charts that more accurately identify whether infants are growing at a healthy rate, an obesity expert says.

Professor Boyd Swinburn, director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University, Victoria, has queried the Federal Health Department about the hold-up in using the charts, released four years ago.

And the medical director of HCN, Dr Andrew Magennis, has confirmed the medical software company is now considering dropping the current US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) charts – which even the CDC has abandoned for the 0–2 years age group – in favour of the WHO charts.

The WHO charts “prevent [the appearance of] normally growing, breastfed babies dropping percentiles and thus reduce the risk of switching to formula feeding,” Professor Swinburn said. 

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