Growth in people with Down syndrome differs from the general population. Mean birthweight at term (3KG) is less than in typical babies, and weight gain is slower.The difference in growth rates continues throughout childhood so that short stature is characteristic with mean adult height 146cm for women and 157 cm for men. Whilst this may in part be constitutional, associated medical conditions, and feeding difficulties also contribute. Down syndrome specific growth charts should be used to identify those children whose growth deviates from that expected for a child with Down syndrome, who should be investigated for underlying pathology.

Obesity also commonly occurs in Down syndrome , but is not inevitable.The Down syndrome specific charts do suggest that overweight is the norm so Standard BMI charts , or the BMI look up chart on the UK Down syndrome specific charts should be used to identify those who may be overweight. Assessment for possible medical causes and management, including advice re diet and excercise should be as for the general population.

DSMIG Guidance

DSMIG Guidelines Basic Medical Surveillance Essential for people with Down syndrome: Growth

DSMIG evidence-based guidelines for basic essential medical surveillance.

Last updated: Feb 2012

Growth charts for children with Down syndrome (2011)

Joint DSMIG/RCPCH UK/Republic of Ireland cross-sectional growth reference charts.

Last updated: 2011

Growth Chart Fact Sheet

Why we need special charts for children with Down syndrome and how to use the charts to monitor children’s growth, including premature babies and older infants and children. It also includes some advice on growth in puberty and over-weight and obesity.

Last updated: May 12

Presentations at DSMIG Meetings

Materials from meetings are available for members only who need to log in to access them. For details on how to become a member click here.

Additional Resources

New cross sectional stature, weight and head circumference references for Down?s syndrome in the UK and Republic of Ireland

Background information about the UK Down syndrome growth charts which were commissioned by DSMIG.

Styles ME, Cole TJ, Dennis J, Preece MA. Arch Dis Ch. 2002. 87. 104-108.


iGrow software has been designed to provide a system for monitoring growth . Charts for children with Down syndrome are included.