An increase in height is one of the best indicators of healthy growth in kids. And so, it’s natural for parents to feel anxious when their children don’t gain height as they grow up. Now, here is what you should know before you start worrying or looking for ways to increase your son’s or daughter’s height. Babies grow faster than adults, and on an average, they grow 10 inches (25 centimetres) in length and become triple their birth weight by the age of 1 year. After that, the growth slows down a bit. By the age of 2 years, growth in height follows a steady rate of about 2½ inches (6 centimetres) every year, until adolescence.
Mini growth spurts appear throughout the period of childhood. And major growth spurts occur at the time of puberty (adolescence phase), which lasts for about 2 to 5 years. This happens in between the ages of 8 and 13 years for girls and in between 10 and 15 years for boys. Also, the good news is that, there are many physical activities that can increase the height of children, and can be started from an early age.
How height is determined
The most accurate method for height prediction is the child’s “bone age”, determined by an X-ray of the hand. There are several other methods for predicting a child’s height, which are mentioned below:-
- Two years times two method: - In this method, one can predict the adult height by doubling the child’s height at the age of 2 years. Also, girls develop more quickly than boys. So you can predict their height by the age of 18 months, or estimate how tall they will be as adults. However, there is no definite proof that this method always works.
- Mid-parental method: This is a complex method of predicting a child’s height by adding heights of both mother and father in inches and dividing by 2. For boys, add 2.5 inches and for girls subtract 2.5 inches to get the average predicted height. If parents are tall, children are likely to be tall, and if parents are short, then their children are likely to be short.
- Growth chart: A growth chart is the ideal way to predict a child’s height. Paediatricians usually plot height, weight, and head circumference for infants to track the growth of a child.
- Family history and heredity: A child’s height and growth are usually based on family history and DNA that he or she has acquired from ancestors. Early or delayed onset of puberty can also be determined by family history and genetics.
Factors that help a child grow
There are several factors that help children to grow. Height development is majorly based on genetic factors (60 to 80%), and the rest is dependent on environmental factors (nutrition, exercise and physical activity). The different factors are discussed below:-
- Balanced diet: - Nutrition plays a crucial role in the growth and development of children. A balanced diet, which includes a sufficient amount of carbohydrate, protein and fats, facilitates a child’s growth. Foods that increase a child’s height are protein-rich foods like eggs, chicken, whole grains, soybeans, dairy products, and nuts and seeds. Inclusion of calcium, vitamin D, and fortified products in the diet can also help them to grow properly.
- Adequate sleep: The right amount of sleep is crucial during every phase of life, as it releases human growth hormone. This is the reason why at least 10 to 12 hours of sleep is recommended during childhood and adolescent phases.
- Staying active: - It is important for children to stay active during the developmental phase. Regular exercise can strengthen muscles and bones, help maintain the right weight and promote growth hormone production. Children in school should get at least 1 hour of exercise in a day (exercises can be based on strength-building, flexibility and aerobics).
- Practicing the right posture: - Poor posture can make a child look shorter. Slumping and slouching can affect your child’s real height and cause pain in the neck and back. Incorporate ergonomics in your child’s daily routine, encourage him to practice posture correction, and consult a doctor for exercises to avoid physical growth issues.
- Oral supplements: In some cases, when the human growth hormone production is low, a child can be administered oral supplements, but with caution and based on a doctor’s recommendation.
Physical activity for toddlers
There are a number of physical activities that can increase your child’s height and should be included in his or her daily routine. These are:
- Stretching exercises
- Jogging and running
- Hanging from rings
- Yoga poses like mountain pose, cobra, child’s pose and warrior II pose.
- Right posture
How tall your kid will ultimately turn out to be, depends on several factors, as mentioned above. However, as parents, you should make sure that their meals are healthy and balanced, and encourage them to participate in sports or physical activities. In most cases, the peak height is attained by the end of puberty. So, it is advisable to visit a doctor if your child’s height and weight is below average.
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