Norway changes the definition of what is “big head” for babies

Up to 4 per cent of Norwegian infants are sent unnecessarily for examination, defined by “big head”. The Norwegian Directorate of Health is now changing targets for normal head circumference.

Today’s recommended growth curve for the head circumference of Norwegian infants is, according to Aftenposten, based on statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO). It is based on children from Norway, the USA, Ghana, Oman, Brazil and India.

According to the Norwegian Child Health Association and the National Group of Health Nurses, this growth curve leads to around 2,300 children annually ending up in the “big head” category, with subsequent unnecessary investigation. To hear that the baby has too big a head can both cause unnecessary anxiety among parents and extra work in the specialist health service.

– We revise the recommendation and get a Norwegian growth curve based on the Growth Study in Bergen, says department director Ellen Margrethe Carlsen in the Norwegian Directorate of Health.

Head of the Norwegian Children’s Association, Ketil Størdal, says it is probably ethnic reasons why Norwegian infants have a larger head circumference:

– Studies show that children of immigrants in Norway have somewhat lower average targets, especially children with Asian descent, he says.

(© NTB)

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