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Alhathlul, Alsultan, AlBaloushi, and AlOmair: Growth parameters among Saudi children attending the health care centre of King Faisal University, Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia – is there deviation from normality?

Introduction: The assessment of growth in children is important for monitoring health status. Growth charts have been used for at least a century to screen for potentially inadequate growth.

Objectives: To look at growth parameters of normal children at our university health centre.

Material and methods: This is a prospective and descriptive study that was conducted in a primary health care centre of King Faisal University, Hofuf, Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia. It is based on assessment of growth parameters, especially weight and height, of healthy children attending the health centre.

Results: A total of 47 healthy children from birth to 11 years of age were included in this study. There were 25 males (mean age 3.1 ± 2.5 years) and 22 females (mean age 4.8 ± 3.6 years). The height parameter for most females was between the 25th and 75th percentiles. All male heights were above the 75th percentile. Regarding weight, males and females were equal between the 25th and 75th percentiles, but there was a linear growth pattern in weight parameter between the ages of 2 to 12 months in both males and females. Males had a tendency to be taller than females at all ages.

Conclusions: Growth patterns over time using multiple data points must be used in conjunction with other medical and family history to evaluate appropriate growth. Training on accurate measurement techniques, especially for recumbent length, is critical for any assessment to be valid.

Acknowledgements: Mentor Dr Gihan Yousef for mentoring this research.

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