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Maternal and Child Health Bureau ~ 1

The CDC Growth Charts for Children with Special Health Care Needs


It has been estimated that 15% of the pediatric population have special needs and that 40-60% of those children are at risk for nutritional problems. The growth of some infants, children, and youth with special health care problems differs from that of other children because of reasons not related to nutrition. However, they are included among the children in all regular school and health care facilities and their growth will also be evaluated utilizing the CDC growth charts. The purpose of this module is to describe some of the effects that special health care needs can have on growth and to illustrate how the CDC Growth Charts can be used with children with special health care needs.


Upon completion of this module, you will be able to:

recognize conditions of children with special health care needs that influence growth

recognize that children with special health care needs are at high risk for nutrition problems that can influence growth

use the CDC growth charts to assess the growth of children with special health care needs

Table of Contents

1. Who are the children with special health care needs?

2. Growth patterns of children with special health care needs

3. Measurement considerations for children with special needs

4. Using corrected age to plot measures for low birthweight and premature infants

5. Body mass index-for-age

6. Issues regarding the use of condition-specific growth charts

7. Application of principles

8. References and resources

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