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When patients come for well-child exams, frequently parents are told the child's percentiles. Pediatricians follow the growth of children carefully and you will see we "plot" the height, weight, and head circumferance as they grow. Although we may tell you your child is at the 50%, what we are watching is the actual rate of growth, not the specific percentile. A child whose height measures at the 50% only means that out of 100 children his age, 50 are taller and 50 are shorter. A child who measures at the 90% is not "more healthy" than one at the 40%. Many factors such as genetics and feeding practices may influence what percentile a child plots. If you have further questions, the physician or nurse practitioner will be happy to go over your child's growth curve at the next well visit.
If you wish to plot your own growth curve for your child, you can download a copy at http://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts