Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A Class Full of Amazon Women?! What is average?

Now, in the US, parents are all about measuring. I'm not sure if it's the same here, but I get the sense not so much from a physical perspective. At the kids' pediatrician in the US, the first thing they always did was weigh and measure them. Everything was considered based on the average growth charts for the US. It wasn't a matter of where your child was on the growth chart, but did they continue to track in the same place. In other words, if they're 80th percentile today and 20th next month, that's a worry.

The Beans have pretty much tracked the same every month until we moved. ButterBean is 10th percent, JuniorBean about 15th % and JujuBean about 90th %. So, recently I began to wonder where they are falling now. I checked our recent measurements and looked at the US growth charts. They're still tracking just the same. Golden. Then I started to think.

In the US, we would expect 90% of the kids ButterBean's age to be taller than her. However, looking at her class in Jordan, she's average. Nowhere near the smallest. Really, she's right in the middle, probably 50th percentile for her class. How interesting. JujuBean is really rather an Amazon in her class. Mind you, she's one of three of very tall stature, but they're head and shoulders above the rest, quite literally. In fact, you won't find even 1% of the kids taller than her, much less 10%. JuniorBean is on the smaller side, but I'm not convinced he's very small relatively speaking either. There are at least a couple of other boys smaller than he is.

I found myself thinking, I need the Jordan growth charts, because clearly they are smaller than the US ones. It makes you wonder, what is average anyway? And, it also makes me smile thinking about JujuBean's class of Amazon women. Fierce and fearless indeed, teehee.

Happy Averages!


At 4:13 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

SubhanAllah, I have wondered about this same thing in the past. Now that I am at the school everyday and see lots of kids, I do think the Jordanian average is shorter than the American one. My kids are all (MashAllah) taller than the kids in their classes but there are tons of tiny kids it seems. MashAllah. There are also a handful of 'Amazon' kids out there as well. But by and far I would say the average stature of children in Jordan would be shorter than the American one. Do they even have a size chart? Never once seen a doctor measure my kids here. Never. Interesting point, Momma Bean. Thanks.

At 6:26 AM , Anonymous Anne said...

I've thought about the same thing many times. My son is tall, but in the U.S. he would only be slightly above average. Here, he towers over his classmates. Another adjustment is being able to look at a kid and guess his/her age. I've found that when I compare kids to my son, they ultimately end up being 7 or 8 years old... he's only 5-1/2. So my "guesstimates" are always way off.

But another thing that I've noticed in Jordan is that, at least for men, they are somewhat smaller than American men. Shorter, smaller hands and feet.

The whole thing has to be Jordan-related.

At 3:18 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

I asked a doctor that I know about the fact that children aren't weighed regularly or measured and she brought up a very pertinent point. She said that most parents do not take their children to well-baby or well-child exams here. One because there is no insurance or little to insure this will happen yearly and two because parents only take children to the doctor when they are sick. They can't afford to go any other time. This made a lot of sense to me. Not something I would've connected necessarily on my own.

At 2:07 AM , Anonymous KF said...

Oh, good topic. My kids, especially, and I have noticed this same thing about different sized kids between the US and here for years. Then some years ago, I read that the flour was starting to be enriched with vitamins and iron here in Jordan. I thought, well, that probably started 50+ years ago in the US. Maybe that made a change in US kids and will eventually make a difference here.


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