Public understanding of growth charts: a review of the literature

Patient Educ Couns. 2007 Mar;65(3):288-95. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2006.09.001. Epub 2006 Nov 1.


Objective: To examine current knowledge about the general public's comprehension of growth charts.

Methods: A literature search was carried out to identify and analyze the findings of studies that have examined the extent to which non-healthcare professionals comprehend the information presented by growth charts.

Results: Few studies have examined how well parents understand growth charts. These studies have mostly been conducted in developing countries and have yielded inconclusive results.

Conclusion: Growth charts can be useful for such purposes as growth monitoring and public health education, but their effectiveness as an educational tool depends on whether parents and caregivers comprehend the information they offer. The literature has not clearly proven that growth charts are easily understood by the general population.

Practice implications: Further studies of the public's understanding of growth charts are needed to help guide health care providers in their use of growth charts as educational tools.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Attitude to Health
  • Audiovisual Aids* / standards
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Comprehension
  • Developed Countries
  • Developing Countries
  • Educational Status
  • Growth*
  • Health Education* / methods
  • Health Education* / standards
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Parents* / education
  • Parents* / psychology
  • Pediatrics / education
  • Pediatrics / methods
  • Research Design