Primary objective: To review the appropriateness of current British growth charts for height and weight.
Methods and procedures: A review of their structure and function in the context of the problems posed by (1) secular trends for increasing size, (2) the external validity of source samples, (3) differences in the design and application of cross-sectional and longitudinal charts, and (4) the clinical significance of differences between current charts.
Main outcomes and results: Charts pre-dating the Freeman et al. 1995 and the Buckler-Tanner 1995 charts should be considered obsolete for the purposes of growth assessment on a sample or individual basis. Either the Freeman or the Buckler-Tanner chart is suitable for screening, surveillance or monitoring prior to adolescence but the Freeman chart is recommended for screening and surveillance of samples of children throughout childhood and adolescence. When comprehensive growth and development data are available it is advantageous to use the Buckler-Tanner chart during adolescence for the diagnosis and monitoring of individual children.