Background: Growth charts constitute an important tool to monitor a childs growth and development, and thus detect growth anomalies. Growth assessment allows early referral and management of treatable disorders. In France, the currently used growth reference charts were derived at the end of 1970s, based on children born on 1950s in Paris area. Questions are raised about their use for growth monitoring of more recently born children.
Objectives: To evaluate actual data about growth and obesity in a large group of schoolchildren and compare these data with the widely used French reference charts.
Method: Prospective analysis of anonymized growth (height, weight) and BMI data retrieved from regular school medical visits. 2736 children attending the third grade of elementary school in Paris during 20082009 have been included, after stratification of 75/345 schools. Growth and BMI data were computed according to French reference charts (Sempé 1979, 1991 respectively). BMI data were also compared to international standards (International Obesity Task Force, IOTF).
Results: Our population of children was on average almost 1 S.D. taller and heavier than the reference. Height and weight were above the French values (+0.9±1.2 S.D. and +1±1.7 S.D. respectively). BMI was also higher, computed according to reference values (+0.4±1.4 S.D.). At 89 years of age, 15.3% of boys and 20% of girls had a BMI>IOTF25 and were overweight or obese.
Conclusion: The reference values currently used in France are no longer appropriate and new charts need to be established. A study published by Heude et al in 2015 underlines the need for actualisation of French growth charts, as the growth patterns of a large population of French children are closer to WHO standards than to Sempé. Finally, the high prevalence of obesity in schoolchildren remains a public health challenge.
Funding: Supported in part by NovoNordisk (educational grant).
01 - 03 Oct 2015
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology