The middle green ‘0’ line on each chart shows what is most normal for a boy or girl at these ages. Your baby’s lines should be reasonably close to these middle green lines to show he or she is growing well.
Chart 1 – Weight-for-Age.
- The red & black lines below the middle ‘normal’ weight line show low and very low weights for age. If your child is near or below these, it needs further investigation and you may need advice and support to ensure your baby is getting enough nutritious food. If your child’s weight line is flat, it means your child is not gaining weight. If it goes down, it means your child is losing weight. Sometimes babies lose weight when they’ve been sick. As they get better, they need extra breast feeding, or food if they’re older than 6 months, to help them regain weight. These measurements may indicate your child is malnourished or severely malnourished in which case you may have to take him or her to hospital.
- The red & black lines above the middle line show a high and very high weight for age. If your baby’s weight line is close to or above these, you may also need guidance and advice on what to feed your baby to ensure he or she does not become overweight. Overweight can also be a health risk.
Chart 2 – Length/Height-for-Age.
- If your child’s length/height-for-age is close to or below the lower red or black lines, it may mean he or she is stunted or severely stunted. Research shows us that there is a strong connection between stunting in the early years and poor brain growth and function. Unfortunately, South Africa has high rates of stunting and almost 1 in 4 children under 5 are stunted. Babies & young children that are stunted are at great risk of getting sick and/or dying. Stunting also affects brain development and can mean that these children will struggle to learn and develop and may have difficulty at school. So, it’s important for these measurements to be done accurately & regularly.
Chart 3 – Weight-for-Length/Height
- If your baby’s chart line is below any of the 3 lower lines, it may mean he or she needs urgent medical care to ensure proper nutrition to enable him or her to gain the necessary weight.
- If baby’s line is above any of the upper 3 lines, it could show that the child is seriously overweight and his or her diet needs to be changed to protect his or her health.