Children grow faster at some times more than at others. For instance the time a baby spends in the womb is when he or she grows fastest. Then the child undergoes rapid growth during infancy. Then later, as a child approaches or attains puberty there is another growth spurt; which occurs between the ages 11 to 15 in girls and between 13 and 18 among boys.
There is a complex interplay of hormones, nutrition and other bodily systems that control growth and any imbalance or lack in these factors could impact growth negatively. To gauge whether a child is growing normally, check to see how the child compares with his or her peers in terms of height, weight and build. Then take into account the height, weight and build of both the parents as well as when either parent underwent puberty.
A child is statistically likely to be tall if the parents are tall and vice versa, but this is not necessarily the case. So if you think your child is not growing as per your expectations, don’t jump to the conclusion that something is wrong.
What factors could impact growth?
Poor nutrition could be a culprit if the child seems not to be growing normally.
If a child has poor immunity and is sick frequently, this could also prevent the child from growing as much as he or she should.
Certain chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes can also impact growth negatively. Hormonal problems such as thyroid imbalances could also abnormal growth patterns.
Lower levels of sex hormones could mean that there is a delay in development of secondary sexual characteristics if there is a problem with the pituitary gland.
Problems with thyroid are often seen to be the reason behind inadequate growth. If there is a problem with the levels of thyroxin, this could result in hypothyroidism.
In some cases there could be excessive growth such as when the pituitary gland is overactive or when certain chromosomal abnormalities cause a child to gain excessive height.
So to make sure that a child is growing normally, parents should be aware of a child’s growth patterns throughout childhood, because subtle signs of growth problems may be present before as well.
And finally remember that each child has very different and individual patters of growth and development that may not conform to average standards and may still be very normal and nothing to worry about.