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BACKGROUND: Crown-heel length (CHL) measurement is influenced by technique, training, experience and subject cooperation. We investigated whether extending one or both of an infant's legs affects the precision of CHL taken using an infantometer. The influence of staff training and infant cooperation were also examined. METHODS: CHL was measured in children (aged 2), infants (aged 1) and newborns, by extending one or both legs. The subject's level of cooperation was recorded. Mean differences were compared using Student's t-test; intra- and inter-observer variability were assessed using Bland-Altman plots with 95 % limits of agreement. Intra- and inter-observer technical errors of measurement (TEMs) were also calculated. RESULTS: Measuring CHL in newborns using only one leg resulted in significantly longer measurements. Across all groups, there was less inter-observer variability using both legs; 95 % limits of agreement were lower and TEMs smaller. Larger measurement differences were seen if children were uncooperative. CONCLUSIONS: This study supports measuring CHL with both legs extended. The two-leg technique reduces variability and increases precision by allowing the measurer to control better the position and movements of the infant's body.

Original publication




Journal article


Bmc pediatr

Publication Date





Anthropometry, Growth, Pre-school children, Anthropometry, Body Height, Child, Preschool, Clinical Competence, Female, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Male, Observer Variation, Reproducibility of Results