Child growth measurements are critical vital signs to track, with every individual child growth curve potentially revealing a story about a child's health and well-being. Simply put, every baby born requires basic building blocks to grow and thrive: proper nutrition, love and care, and medical health. To ensure that every child who is missing one of these vital aspects is identified, growth is traditionally measured at birth and each well-child visit. While the blue and pink growth curves appear omnipresent in pediatric clinics, it is surprising to realize that their use only became standard of care in 1977 when the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) adopted the growth curve as a clinical tool for health. Behind this practice lies a socioeconomically, culturally, and politically complex interplay of individuals and institutions around the world. In this review, we highlight the often forgotten past, current state of practice, and future potential of this powerful clinical tool: the growth reference chart, with a particular focus on clinical genetics practice. The goal of this article is to understand ongoing work in the field of anthropometry (the scientific study of human measurements) and its direct impact on modern pediatric and genetic patient care.
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