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Maternal and Child Health Bureau ~ 8

Technique: The head is positioned as with a length measurement. The legs are raised so that the thighs are at a 90-degree angle to the board and held in that position during the measurement. The sliding footboard is brought up against the buttocks with firm pressure and the reading is taken.

Plotting and Interpretation: The measurement can be plotted on the CDC charts for stature-for-age or length-for-age. Even if measurements fall below the 5th percentile, they establish a growth pattern over time (Lohman, 1988; McCammon, 1970).

Reference data exist, however the data set is small and does not include children with special health care needs (McCammon, 1970).

Sitting height (Lohman, 1988; Hamill, et al, 1973)

Equipment: sitting base of a known height (e.g., 50 cm x 40 cm x 30 cm) and a wall-mounted stadiometer

Technique: The child is placed as erect as possible with buttocks, shoulders, and head in contact with backboard of the stadiometer. Total height is measured. The height of the sitting surface is then subtracted from the total height.

Sitting height – example

YE is a 5 year, 7 month old boy with developmental delay. He had a stroke in infancy, and the right side of his body is affected. He is not able to stand or extend his right arm.

Sitting height measurements (along with weight) are used to monitor YE's growth. He is consistently measured sitting on a 40 cm box.

YE's sitting height measurements parallel those on the stature-for-age charts. Together, with regular weight measurements, his sitting height-for-age measurements indicate that he is growing well.

Arm span

The arm span, when accurately measured, should equal stature 1:1 if growth is normal.

Arm span measurement requires two people to complete measurements. The child extends both arms, while the anthropometer or measuring rod is held across the back, extended from the tip of one middle finger to the other (Trahms, 1997).

Arm span measurements can be plotted on the CDC charts for stature-for-age or length-for-age.

This is a photo of correct technique for arm span measurement. Note that the child's arms are perpendicular to his body and the anthropometer is touching the extended middle fingers of the right and left hands.

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