Children are different and grow different. It is very common for children at any stage of their upbringing to be longer or shorter than children of an age. How a child grows is affected by both inheritance and the environment, but it is uncommon for it to be due to some illness.
What affects how the child grows?
How children grow can depend on many different things, including this:
- What genes the child has, including what length the genetic parents have and how they grew as a child.
- When the child comes into puberty.
- How the child feels physically and mentally.
- How the child feels during growing up.
- What the child eats. If the child receives good and sufficient nutrition.
- If the child has diseases that affect how they grow.
- 1 Child’s genes
- 2 Puberty affects a lot
- 3 Food, nutrition and security
- 4 Hormones are important in several ways
- 5 Children are affected in difficult conditions
- 6 Diseases can affect how children grow
- 7 Treatment with drugs can affect
- 8 0-2 years
- 9 2-6 years
- 10 6-12 years
- 11 When do I need to seek care?
- 12 Can be difficult for the child
- 13 Children should be involved
- 14 Investigation and treatment of the child is shorter than children of equal age
- 15 Investigation and treatment of the child is longer than children of equal age
How tall a child is and how much the child weighs greatly depends on the length of the genetic parents and how they grew as a child. Genes determine whether children grow slowly or rapidly, or whether they reach puberty early or late. If children are always longer or shorter than other children, they may depend on how their parents grew.
But it can vary a lot. Sometimes, for example, the child does not follow his parents’ way of growing. For example, the child may grow slower than the parents did, or enter puberty earlier than they did.
Length is inherited in a complicated way and even traits that are further behind in the genus can probably affect a child’s length, even if it is not noticed by the parents.
Puberty affects a lot
How long the child gets depends, among other things, on how fast the child grows and how long they have to grow. When puberty starts, children grow faster for about two years. Then the pace slows down. Therefore, the onset of puberty usually plays a role. Children can grow slightly more if they reach puberty late.
It varies greatly when children come into puberty. Most children reach puberty sometime between the ages of 8 and 14, girls earlier than boys.
Children who grow faster than peers and even reach puberty late can become tall. Children who reach puberty early and grow slowly may be shorter than expected.
To read about how the child develops from puberty, you can read here.
Food, nutrition and security
How children grow is also influenced by, among other things, nutrition and access to health care. For example, it is good food, clean water and vaccinations.
Nutrition, proximity and security also affect the production of hormones in the body. Proximity and body contact are also important for the child to feel safe.
The body and brain need nutrition to be able to develop. Diet that contains a little protein and a little energy can make children grow more slowly.
Hormones are important in several ways
The body forms many hormones. Some control how the child grows.
An important hormone is thyroid hormone that controls, among other things, how quickly the body builds up and how the body’s cells are renewed. For children up to about two years, it affects not only length and weight but also the development of the brain. Newborns are always given the opportunity to undergo tests to see if they have a deficiency of thyroid hormone. When such a defect is detected, the child receives treatment and can live without any hassles.
The child may also have a lack of growth hormone. It affects how the child grows in length from six to nine months of age. The hormone also causes the baby to slowly become leaner.
Children are affected in difficult conditions
Children are affected if they grow up without getting the care and care they need. They are affected by, among other things, abuse, poverty, war, how parents feel mentally and physically and whether they themselves or any close relatives are subjected to violence or abuse.
Diseases can affect how children grow
It is unusual for the length and how much or little the child grows to depend on some illness. However, if the child is very short and the parents are very tall, it may be a sign of illness or the child is not feeling well otherwise.
Infections can affect how the child grows in the short term. Children can grow more slowly if they have many infections in succession. They then quickly regain the weight and length they lost.
Illnesses that the child has for a long or whole life, so-called chronic diseases, can affect how the child grows even in the long term. Some examples of chronic diseases are gluten intolerance, rheumatic diseases, heart disease, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, kidney disease, neurological conditions or growth hormone deficiency.
Some congenital genetic diseases cause children to grow more slowly. These diseases also usually cause other symptoms that are detected early. One such example is Down syndrome. Even in other congenital genetic diseases, children can grow slowly. One example is cystic fibrosis, another is Turner’s syndrome. Severe malformations can cause children to grow more slowly.
There are some very rare diseases that can cause children to grow very quickly and become very tall.
Treatment with drugs can affect
Children who have some rheumatic disease and are treated with high doses of cortisone may grow more slowly. Treatment with cytostatic drugs can also affect.
Children of different ages
How big the child is at birth depends mainly on what week they are born. The longer the baby is in the womb, the more time they can grow. Premature babies usually catch up with other peers over time. The size of the child is also influenced, among other things, by how big the parents are.
Only a few of the children who are very short when they are born or some who are extremely premature, continue to be short during their upbringing.
The first year of life the child grows faster than ever later in life. The length increases on average about 25 centimeters. The child gets three times as heavy.
When the child is between one and two years, they grow another twelve centimeters in length. Weight usually increases by about three kilos.
Children between two and six years grow about six to eight centimeters in length per year.
How much children grow is linked to the seasons. From about three years of age, the child’s growth is greatly affected by sunlight and the child grows faster in the spring and summer. Length usually increases most in spring and weight most in early autumn.
During this period, a growth hormone causes the so-called baby hole to disappear, and children tend to become narrower. Hormones can decrease if the baby eats too much that contains a lot of energy, such as cookies, sweets and soft drinks, or if the baby eats frequently. The child may get overweight which can be difficult to get rid of. Research also shows that the sweetener suction and eating needs that the child has at about 2.5 years of age are likely to remain if not broken.
Read more about what children should eat at this age.
Children grow slower the older they get.
But between the ages of six and eight, children can grow a little faster during a period. It happens when more buildup hormones are formed.
For example, a seven-year-old grows between four and eight centimeters a year.
How much the child grows depends in part on how tall they are. Those who are already tall usually grow more.
Even now the sunlight has a great influence on how the child grows.
It is common for children to be very thin before puberty.
Is it possible to calculate how long the child will be as an adult?
There is no safe way to calculate how long the child will be as an adult. But by assuming the average length of the genetic parents, you get a figure.
Here’s how: Add together the parents’ lengths. Subtract 13 inches for a girl or add 13 inches for a boy. Then divide by two. This is how you get the so-called average parental length. Nine out of ten children are given a length that is in the range ten centimeters above or ten centimeters below that figure.
How the child grows in care is often called growth.
Growth curves are used on bvc and pupil health. The child is measured and weighed several times over the years. Each child has its own length curve and its own weight curve.
The child’s curves are compared with curves showing the average for children of the same age. The average curves describe how healthy children are expected to grow on average and how large the variation is between healthy children.
The child’s curves show to a certain extent how the child is feeling and if they are getting enough nutrition. If the child follows their curves, that is a good sign.
If the child deviates too much from the average, they may need to be examined and investigated. This may be a sign that the child, for example, has a disease or is getting too little nutrition.
There are quite a few children who are very much below or above the average.
When care talks about a child being short or long in relation to children of equal age, it is based on the growth curves. Being very tall compared to children of the same age is called long-term care in care. Being very short compared to children of the same age is called short-term care in care.
The growth curves can be used until the child is 18 years.
Care also looks at how the genetic parents grew and how tall they are. They see how the child grows in relation to their parents. They check if the child grows as expected.
The staff can show and explain your child’s length and weight curves. Ask if you are wondering about something or feel anxious.
Do I need to seek care?
Children grow differently and it can be difficult to know how much your child will grow. If you have any thoughts or concerns about how your child grows, you can talk to staff at bvc or the health center. If the child goes to school, you can also talk to the student health.
For example, you might be wondering if your child is getting enough nutrition. Then you may need to get in touch with a dietician. It is a specialist in diet.
When do I need to seek care?
Bvc and student health in school usually find out if the child’s length needs to be investigated.
The child is usually required to be examined or investigated when one or more of these points is met:
- That the child grows slowly or stops in its length.
- That the child at the age of two has not approached the length expected.
- That the child has previously grown as expected, but no longer does.
- That a girl is short in relation to her expected length while she has not reached puberty when most people of the same age have it.
- That a girl younger than 8 years and a boy younger than 9 years start growing faster. Sometimes there are also signs that they are beginning to enter puberty.
If you think the child needs to be examined, contact student health, bvc, a medical center or pediatric clinic.
Can be difficult for the child
If your child is feeling poorly about how they grow, the child or you can contact the health care center, student health or a youth clinic together. If the child is younger than six years, you can also contact bvc. Sometimes it may feel good for the child to talk to someone.
The older the child is, the more important it is for the child to participate in discussions and decisions about possible treatment. It becomes especially important during adolescence.
Children should be involved
There is no age limit for when a child should be involved or allowed to participate in a care situation. The child should always be able to express his needs and thoughts. The child should be able to participate and decide on his or her age and maturity. The older the child, the more important it is for them to be involved in their care. In order to be active in health care and to make decisions, it is important that you understand the information you receive from health care personnel. You have the right to receive all the information you need from the healthcare staff.
Ask questions if you don’t understand. You can also ask to have the information printed to read it peacefully. If interpretation is needed in other languages, you may have the right to have it. You may also have the right to receive interpreting assistance in the event of hearing loss.
Investigation and treatment if the child is longer or shorter than children of the same age
It is unusual for children to need treatment.
Investigation and treatment of the child is shorter than children of equal age
Children who seek care for a short adult are carefully investigated. The doctor assesses how the child has grown with the help of the growth curve, and assesses whether the child has reached puberty. The child may also submit blood tests. The blood tests are for detecting if the child has any illness.
An x-ray of the skeleton is also often included to assess the skeletal maturity in relation to the child’s age.
Often it turns out that it is not due to any illness or disorder.
If the child has growth hormone deficiency, they can be treated with such hormone. Children who do not have a deficiency cannot be treated with this.
Investigation and treatment of the child is longer than children of equal age
It is very uncommon for children to be treated because they are tall. However, if a child is very tall and feels bad for his or her length, treatment can sometimes be required.
An operation can sometimes stop the child growing. Then some of the skeletal growth zones are destroyed. Growth zones are those parts of the skeleton that are near the end of the bones. The skeleton grows longitudinally and when the growth zone is destroyed, the skeleton cannot grow anymore. The treatment has drawbacks and is only carried out if there are strong reasons. If growth is stopped in, for example, a growth area in the leg, the rest of the leg and arms will continue to grow.
Prior to any treatment, the child is investigated. The child may then undergo, among other things, an x-ray examination in order for the doctor to see how the skeleton is fully grown.