Weight

Definition Weight or heaviness of the individual.

Instruments For infants and younger children, a scale in which the individual can lie or sit is used.For older children and adults, a standing scale is used.

Position In a newborn infant or young child, weight is taken by laying the baby on the weighing table or infant scale (Fig. 5.1a); in older children and adults able to stand, a standing scale is used (Fig. 5.1b).

The individual should not be touching anything except the scale (wall, floor, scale upright, etc.) because that will affect the weight measurement. Most clothing is removed since it will affect the weight measurement.

Alternative If no infant scales are available, a normal scale can be used, weighing an adult and child together, transferring the child to an assistant, and taking the adult's weight alone. The baby's weight will be calculated by the difference between the weight of the adult plus the child and the weight of the adult alone. In older individuals unable to stand, the weight of the bed or wheelchair is taken and subtracted.

Remarks Weight measurement should be performed at least twice, preferably three times, to ensure accuracy. The patient should step on and off the scale between measurements.

As little clothing as possible should be worn for the weighing. In newborns and infants, the diaper is removed. A blanket may be used if the scale is cold, but its weight should be subtracted from the total. If weight is taken with the diaper on, the weight of the diaper should be subtracted from the baby's weight. In older patients, light underwear is usually worn (Fig. 5.1b). However, shoes, belts, regular clothing, and any jewelry should be removed.

In the absence of a limb, one has to adjust the expected weight in relationship to height. It is estimated that the upper limbs together account for approximately 11 percent of the total weight and the lower limbs together for approximately 20 percent of the total weight.

During the first days of life a natural weight loss occurs. It usually is greatest at the third day of life, when it equals approximately 7 percent of the birthweight.

Weight for North European and North American children are shown in Figs. 5.2-5.9.

Pitfalls In infants the effects of feeding and bowel movement can alter weight.

The weight should be recorded when the individual is quiet and still. Shifting weight and movement can change the measurement by several pounds.

27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 Gestational age (weeks)

Figure 5.2 Weight, North American infants at birth, both sexes. From Lubchenco et al. (1963), by permission.

27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 Gestational age (weeks)

Figure 5.2 Weight, North American infants at birth, both sexes. From Lubchenco et al. (1963), by permission.

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