Growth Monitoring is a screening tool to diagnose nutritional, chronic systemic and endocrine disease at an early stage. It has been suggested that growth monitoring has the potential for significant impact on mortality even in the absence of nutrition supplementation or education(1). Experience in Tamilnadu, Maharashtra and other states in India indicates that individual growth monitoring of children is both feasible and extremely useful(2-4).
Monitoring the growth of a child requires taking the same measurements at regular intervals, approximately at the same time of the day, and seeing how they change. A single measurement only indicates the child’s size at that moment. Currently, the Government policies for growth monitoring focus on children less than 5 years of age. Growth monitoring is one of the basic activities of the under 5 clinics where the child is weighed periodically at monthly intervals during the 1st year, every 2 months during the 2nd year and every 3 months thereafter up to the age of 5 to 6 years(5). Growth monitoring is viewed in most programs as an activity for weighing children regularly and plotting weight on growth charts to identify undernutrition (mostly severe Protein Energy Malnutrition) for feeding programs or to provide data on nutritional status(6). There are no national policies for growth monitoring beyond the age of 6 years. Growth monitoring differs greatly among pediatricians and often is not based on evidence. Hence, the Indian Academy of Pediatrics has made these consensus guidelines for growth monitoring as per IAP Action Plan 2006(members listed in Annexure I).