Paediatric anthropometric measurements are commonly used as indicators of growth and development for infants. These measurements are plotted against the standard World Health Organization’s growth charts to assess the growth of your baby compared with national or international standards.
In our studies, we are interested in monitoring changes in growth because poor growth in early life or excessive weight change, as well as periods of rapid weight gain, have been related with increased risks of metabolic disease such as obesity and diabetes.
The paediatric assessments that we do in our Unit include a wide range of measurements:
The baby will be placed on a digital scale like the one in the picture below. Please note that we will be asking you to remove the baby’s nappy before the measurement.
The length will be measured with the baby lying down on the measuring equipment (see below). We measure from the top of the head to the heel.
The head circumference is taken with a measuring tape like the one in the picture below. We will wrap the tape around the baby’s head above the eyebrows and ears.
This measure is to estimate fat distribution and the amount of fat around the tummy area. A small measuring tape will be placed above the belly button.
This measure allow us to estimate hormone levels in your baby. In particular, this measure is used as an indicator of whether boys are developing properly in response to male hormones called androgens (e.g. testosterone). We will be using a small caliper (like the one in the picture) to measure the distance from the anus to the genitalia.
Penile length and undescended testes assessment
This assessment is to establish the presence of undescended testes. It appears that undescended testes are related to patterns of weight gain and excessive fat during infancy. The length will be measured with the caliper pictured above. Undescended testicles are determined by examining the scrotum.
Skinfold thickness measurements
This assessment allow us to estimate body fat in your baby. A caliper is used to measure the thickness of a fold of the baby’s skin with its underlying layer of fat (the subcutaneous fat).
The measurements are taken from the following body sites: triceps (upper arm), subscapular (shoulder blade area), quadriceps (thigh area), flank (at the back between rib and hip).
The measurement of the triceps skinfold is taken halfway between the top of the shoulder and the elbow (halfway along the upper arm).
The measurement of the subscapular skinfold is taken at the bottom right corner of the left shoulder blade.
The Measurement of the quadriceps (thigh) skinfold is taken halfway along the top of the upper leg.
The measurement of the flank skinfold is taken halfway down the side of the body between the bottom rib and hip.