Background: The growth charts currently used in Norway, are based on measurements from the 1970s and 80s. New data are available from the Bergen Growth Study collected in 2003 - 6. In 2006, WHO published international charts for 0-5 year-old children.
Material and methods: New growth charts based on data from the Bergen Growth Study and the Medical Birth Registry of Norway are presented for children aged 0-19 years. These were compared with existing references and with the WHO curves.
Results: Norwegian children aged 0-4 years have length, height and weight measurements that are only marginally different from those in the Norwegian growth charts in current use. In older children there has been an increase in the 50-percentile for height up to 3.4 cm in boys and 2.5 cm in girls. For children older than four years, weight for height has increased, especially for the upper percentiles. The percentile lines in the new Norwegian reference are generally positioned above the WHO standard for weight at birth, and for length/height, weight and head circumference in the age group 6 months to 5 years.
Interpretation: The secular trends in growth mirror the need for new charts. The fact that Norwegian children differ from the WHO standards may reflect population differences relating to environment or growth potential between the populations.