As kids grow from toddlers to preteens, there is a wide range of “normal” regarding height, weight, and shape. Kids have a tendency to grow taller at a pretty steady pace, growing about 2.5 inches i.e. 6 to 7 centimetres each year. When it comes to weight, kids normally gain about 4–7 lbs i.e. 2–3 kg per year until puberty starts. Parents should try to help their young ones understand that the important thing is not to “look” a certain way, but rather to be healthy. Kids cannot alter the genes that will determine how tall they will be or when puberty starts. But they can definitely make the most of their potential by developing healthy eating habits and being physically active.
Many Guardians get worried if their child isn’t as tall as other kids of that age. But the more valuable question is whether your child is continuing to grow at a normal rate. If the doctor find any issue such as a growth rate that had been normal but has recently slowed then the kid’s growth should be carefully tracked over several months to see if the pattern suggests a possible health problem or is just a variation of normal. The crucial symptom that may indicate a growth problem is when a child grows less than two inches a year after the age of two years. Other symptoms include:
- Sedate development of physical skills, such as the ability to roll over, sitting up straight, standing and walking
- Delay in social and mental ability or skills
- Delay in the development of secondary sexual characteristics during their adolescence.
Here are other little clues for identifying the growth deficiency that a parent should also look out for:
- The child may be much shorter than most of the other kids of the same age and gender.
- The child may have a normal body proportion but the body build maybe chubby.
- Child’s face looks younger than the other children of the same age and gender.
People may think that why is it important to see my doctor, just for the height growth. But ignoring certain symptoms can lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment, which may affect not just the child’s height, but also their overall health. If the child is suspected with any condition that is affecting his or her growth, it is essential that they get treatment at the earliest. On the other side sometimes delayed growth can be the first sign of an infection or an underlying condition such as those affecting the major system like renal, cardiac, digestive or hormonal systems.
Hundreds of medical conditions can be a cause of the abnormal growth mechanism. It is important to track the child’s growth at home at least twice a year. If a parent thinks that the child is not growing properly, then that moment is the perfect place to start. Early signs of delayed growth include wearing out shoes before outgrowing them, fitting into the same old clothes or coats for more than a year, younger siblings growing up or surpassing the child’s height, slowly falling behind classmates. The opposite of these signs sometimes appears when the child is growing too fast. Maintaining a healthy growth pattern is an indicator of a child’s overall health.
As mentioned earlier growth of a child is influenced by various factors such as heredity, congenital factors, illnesses and medications, poor nutrition, hormonal imbalance, and psychosocial environment. Much more important than a child’s actual stature is whether or not he or she follows a normal growth pattern. Measurements of height growth and weight, on a growth chart, is a reasonable service that should be offered by all health care providers. Additionally, it is extremely important that the observation should be made correctly and included as a part of sick visits and “well-child” check-ups as well. Normally growth rates in terms of height vary with the age. Children in their first year of life should grow 7-10 inches. In the second year, growth slows to an average of 5 inches /year. During the third year of life, the growth averages to 3 inches/year. From the age of 4 years until puberty, child’s growth should be at least 2 inches per year. Changes in the puberty phase prompt a growth spurt of 2 ½ to 4 ½ inches per year for girls usually starting from 10 years. On the other hand, boys experience both puberty and growth spurt a little later- usually starting from12 years and averaging 3 to 5 inches per year.
A growth chart depicts how the child’s growth is compared to other children of the exact same age and sex. After the age of 2 years, most children tend to maintain fairly steady growth until they hit puberty. Please keep one thing in mind that the child’s percentile doesn’t necessarily indicate how well they are growing. A child growing at the 5th percentile can be growing just as well as a child at the 95th percentile. It is more important to observe at the child’s growth over time. If the kid has always been at the 5th percentile, then he/she is most likely growing normally. It would be concerning when the child had earlier been at the 50th or 75th percentile and had now come down to the 25th or lower percentile. It is common for children under the age of 2 to change percentiles. However, after a certain age of 2.5 to 3 years, children should follow their growth curves on the chart closely.
Keeping in mind that many factors influence how a child grows, including their genetics and underlying medical issues, overall nutrition plays a crucial role in every child’s growth and development. Average heights of the entire population have climbed over the past century, most probably to a large extent due to improvements in nutrition, as well as due to improved healthcare in general. The best way to ensure that children reach their optimum growth potential is by making sure that they sleep well, have good nutritional management and a balanced diet, and most importantly seeing the pediatrician at the recommended intervals for regular well-child check-ups.
Book your appointment today with QUA NUTRITION, the best kids nutritionist.