Child Growth eLearning Glossary

Term Definition
SGA small for gestational age refers to the weight status at birth
IUGR Intra-uterine growth failure
Infants that are born after 37 weeks of gestation and weigh less than 2500 g at birth are considered IUGR
OR birth weight is less than 10th percentile for gestational age
Premature less than 37 completed weeks gestational age
LBW low birth weight; less than 2.5 kg
VLBW very low birth weight; less than 1.5 kg
ELBW extremely low birth weight;
Corrected age Equal to chronological age; minus the number of weeks premature at birth
Growth monitoring serial weighing and measuring of the length/height (and head circumference in under 2's) of a child and graphing both measurements on a growth chart
Growth reference describes the growth pattern of a defined population without making any claims about health status
Growth standard defines a recommended pattern of growth that has been associated empirically with specific health outcomes and minimisation of long-term risks of disease. It represents 'healthy' growth of a population and suggest a model or target pattern of growth for all children to achieve.
Failure to Thrive general description for child with growth faltering
Malnutrition deficiencies (excesses or imbalances) in intake of energy, protein and or/other nutrients.
Overnutrition food is in excess of dietary energy requirements, resulting in overweight or obesity.
Undernutrition result of food intake that is continuously insufficient to meet dietary requirements, poor absorption, and/or poor biological use of food consumed.
Z-scores Also known as standard deviation (SD) scores. Z-scores have no 'units' and are used to describe how far a measurement is from the mean (average). Percentiles are commonly used in the clinical or community setting because they indicate simply and clearly a child's position within the context of the reference population. Z-scores are useful for population and research purposes. For comparison purposes, the 50th centile is equal to a z-score of 0.

Table 4. Comparison of z-scores and percentiles

Z-score Exact Percentile Rounded Percentile
-3 0.1 1st
-2 2.3 3rd
-1 15.9 15th
0 50 50th
+1 84.1 85th
+2 97.7 97th
+3 99.9 99th