Background: A child's adult height is commonly predicted using their target height, based on mid-parent height. However, if no growth disorder is suspected, the child's current height is a far better predictor of their adult height.
Aim: To develop a chart to predict a child's adult height from their current height, adjusting for regression to the mean.
Subjects and methods: Data from the First Zurich Longitudinal Growth Study provided correlations between child height and adult height by age and sex, for use in a regression model predicting adult height centile from child height centile. The model was validated using data from the British 1946 and 1958 birth cohorts.
Results: The chart is illustrated superimposed on the British 1990 boys height chart. The predicted height has a standard error of 4-5 cm for ages from 4 years to puberty in both sexes. The regression adjustment partially compensates for biased predictions in early and late developers in puberty. A simplified version of the chart for restricted age ranges is also shown, as used on the UK-WHO 0-4 years growth charts.
Conclusion: The height prediction chart should be of value for parents, and indirectly professionals, to predict adult height in their children.