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DoH welcome new child growth charts

The Department of Health has welcomed a study suggesting that child growth standards be based on growth rates of breastfed not formula-fed babies.

Current UK growth charts are based on babies fed on formula, who tend to grow more quickly.

The new growth charts have been created by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and are designed to show how babies "should" grow under optimum conditions including exclusive breastfeeding.

Public Health minister Dawn Primarolo says she hopes the new standards will stop mothers worrying that their breastfed babies are not growing quick enough.

WHO also aim for their standards to encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of their baby's life.

Professor Peter Aggett, chair Standing Committee on Nutrition for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said: "The recommendations to adopt the WHO Standards for early life are an important means to support the exclusive breastfeeding of babies in the first six months of life and the development of early growth patterns that could reduce the risk of these children becoming overweight and developing life threatening diseases in later life.

"It is crucial that all healthcare professionals are trained so that they are competent in using and interpreting the revised charts."

Department of Health

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"I strongly support adopting the WHO standards for baby growth, they are fundamental to supporting breastfeeding  weaning at 6 months and addressing obesity" - Maggie Lack, West Kent PCT Health Promotion Senior Practitioner