Introduction: Growth and development assessment of infants and young children is a very important component of early prophylaxis in paediatric health care. In 2006 the World Health Organization published the new Child Growth Standards for children up to 5 years of age. They describe the optimal pattern of young children development.
Aim of the study: 1. To compare the cut-off points for selected anthropometric parameters in children up to 5 years between reference values for Polish children and WHO Child Growth Standards. 2. To attempt to answer the question whether the WHO Child Growth Standards can be implemented to assess health and development in children up to 5 years in Poland.
Methods: The differences for mean (50th percentile) and extreme values (3rd and 97th percentile) for length/height for age and weight for age were calculated for boys and girls. The differences in BMI units for overweight (mean + 1 SD) and obesity (mean + 2 SD) were compared using the z-score method.
Results: Comparisons of the WHO and Polish length/height and weight for age showed no differences in children aged 1-60 months. Small differences were seen in the 3rd percentile (less than 2%) in children aged 3 and 6 years. BMI values for overweight and obesity were slightly lower for Polish children in the first 6 months of life than in WHO standards. These differences have positive values for boys and girls starting at 9th month and increasing in toddlers.
Conclusions: WHO standards reflect the optimal growth pattern for children from birth up to 5 years. Therefore these instruments should be adopted for Polish children to assessing their growth.