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What are 'centiles'??? Please explain them to me

(10 Posts)
pixiefish Mon 14-Feb-05 08:40:07

Am being totally thick here. dd has got to 12 months and I've no idea what 'centile' means. It doesn't bother me what weight she is because I know that she's healthy but I was talking to a friend yesterday and she was going on about 'centiles' and i was perplexed. I did ask her what they were and she couldn't answer me. All I know is that they're the red lines in her little red book. Are they perchance to do with 'percentiles' as in the percentage of the population at that weight and thats the way they grew?

misdee Mon 14-Feb-05 08:46:20

pretty much yes. dd1 is on 50th percentile line, so means she is smack bang average in the growth charts. dd2 is up on the 99th percentile which means she is towering above most 99% of her age group.

pixiefish Mon 14-Feb-05 08:47:36

ta misdee. dd is on the 50th centile- does that mean she's average then.

misdee Mon 14-Feb-05 08:48:08

yup. and its a nice place to be with buying clothes etc.

bathmummy Mon 14-Feb-05 08:48:51

yep, something like that. If you take 100 hundred "average" children then on the height centile chart if your child was on the 50th centile position then your child would be bang on average, if 75th then above average and in an imaginary 75th place out of a hundred if all measured and put in order of height. A bit of a crazy system if you ask me but it does give a rough idea where your child is in growth terms compared with the average weights and heights for children across the country at the same age. Only problem is that it can unnecessarily worry parents thinking their child is "below average" or "fat" if over 50. Obviously 49% of children are likely to be over 50 for weight so not a big deal but can upset and worry mums that their child is going to be a porker!
Like all stats, take it with a pinch of salt. I think the HVs are only concerned when your chart starts veering off course - eg. starts at the 40th centile and stays there for a year more or less and then suddenly starts to rise and rise up to the 90th centile - they might then want to check possible causes and diet etc. to make sure there are no problems, same if weight seemed to nose dive.

bathmummy Mon 14-Feb-05 08:50:01

sorry - crossed posts with misdee - should have known to leave it to someone who could put it succinctly into one sentence instead of waffling on and taking ages

misdee Mon 14-Feb-05 08:50:56

dd2 made the old HV worry as she shot off the charts at 9months old.

pixiefish Mon 14-Feb-05 08:52:29

misdee-it doesn't help with clothes at all. she's 12 months old and still in 6-9 month trousers and 9-12 month tops. Having said that she may have changed on the chart thing as I haven't had her weighed for 4 months. Plus I know that bfed babies are lighter than bottle fed. I'm not worried BTW- like I said before she's happy and looks healthy so I'm happy. Thanks for answering.

While you're here how's you's your dh misdee?

pixiefish Mon 14-Feb-05 08:52:57

no bathmummy- thank you for answering

misdee Mon 14-Feb-05 08:57:37

about clothes, 50th perccentile line meant dd1 stayed in her clothes longer, tho trousers were always long lol. dd2 currently 2.5years old wears clothes for 5year olds. very expensive buying her clothes as they need to be changed a lot quicker due to her quicker growth, means bubs will have loads of nearly new baby clothes

dh is doing well. transferred to harefield on saturday, so i cant get to see him, but will phone him later. they are assessing him for transplant, and taking good care of him.

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