Re: How important are the percentiles in growth charts? What do they mean?
Percentiles are the major tool a pediatrician uses to assess a child's total growth. While the actual number doesn't matter (these statistics are based on white children in the Midwest in the ’70s!), it's the trends and how they change over time that count. If a child starts out at the 50th percentile for height, weight, and head circumference and then moves to the 90th for head circumference while everything else stays the same, this could mean a problem. Sadly, for some parents, percentiles have become a little like SAT scores, complete with bragging rights. But that’s pretty silly since the first 6 to 12 months are rarely associated with future stats anyway.