CDC growth charts: United States

Adv Data. 2000 Jun 8:(314):1-27.


Objectives: This report presents the revised growth charts for the United States. It summarizes the history of the 1977 National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) growth charts, reasons for the revision, data sources and statistical procedures used, and major features of the revised charts.

Methods: Data from five national health examination surveys collected from 1963 to 1994 and five supplementary data sources were combined to establish an analytic growth chart data set. A variety of statistical procedures were used to produce smoothed percentile curves for infants (from birth to 36 months) and older children (from 2 to 20 years), using a two-stage approach. Initial curve smoothing for selected major percentiles was accomplished with various parametric and nonparametric procedures. In the second stage, a normalization procedure was used to generate z-scores that closely match the smoothed percentile curves.

Results: The 14 NCHS growth charts were revised and new body mass index-for-age (BMI-for-age) charts were created for boys and girls ( The growth percentile curves for infants and children are based primarily on national survey data. Use of national data ensures a smooth transition from the charts for infants to those for older children. These data better represent the racial/ethnic diversity and the size and growth patterns of combined breast- and formula-fed infants in the United States. New features include addition of the 3rd and 97th percentiles for all charts and extension of all charts for children and adolescents to age 20 years.

Conclusion: Created with improved data and statistical curve smoothing procedures, the United States growth charts represent an enhanced instrument to evaluate the size and growth of infants and children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Growth / physiology*
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • National Center for Health Statistics, U.S.
  • United States