At our 2-month doctor visit a while ago, Benji weighed in at 10.3 lbs. According to the doctor’s charts, this put Benji in the 7th percentile for bodyweight, occasioning a conversation about his eating habits (desultory) and our feeding methods (elaborate & diligent). Eventually the doctor said he seemed otherwise healthy, and sent us on our way – with the caveat we should come in for a weight check at 3 months, just to check.

Later, I learned from Mom that I spent my entire childhood in the 5th percentile for weight, so Benji may just be taking after me in this regard. Only time will tell.

However: Last night, we took a gander at the 35-year-old book on childhood ailments that we inherited from my mother-in-law. This book contains growth charts circa 1976, and indicates that, if Benji was transported back in time*, he would weigh in at the 25th percentile.

In short, a weight that today counts as almost underweight would 35 years ago have fallen solidly in the normal range, based on percentiles. This demonstrates the amazing thing about statistics: they can say whatever you want them to. Compared to babies born in 1976, Benji is on the small side of normal. Compared to babies born in 2012, he’s downright skinny.

Additionally, it hints at the national obesity epidemic, where 25% to 30% of the adult population is obese. Now, babies are supposed to be bundles of chubby cuteness, so “fat” doesn’t even mean much early in life. But it makes me wonder: Why were babies smaller 35 years ago? What kind of trends can we expect for the future?

*A bizarre scenario that would result in his being eight years older than me.

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