Many parents worry that their child might be the shortest one between his/her classmates who are at the same age. All parents want their children to grow to an average height. Therefore, they must first know the factors that affect the growth rate of their children.
Scientists state that the height growth rate for most children between the ages of 3 and early adolescence is about 5 cm per year. However, this rate is not constant for everybody because there are several factors that affect your child’s height including gender, genetics, nutrition, and health conditions.
For example, the parents’ height is a large contributor that affects the child’s final height as it is often estimated with the average height of his/her parents. Gender is also one of the factors affecting height. For instance, sex hormones often contribute to a much faster growth rate, and that appears clearly in girls who always stop growing earlier than boys “The later your puberty begins – the longer you will continue to grow.”
So to help our children grow at better rates and stay healthy we must bear in mind the following:
1. Proper Nutrition
Your child’s food should have a balanced and integrated nutrients including vitamins and minerals specially Vitamin D which promotes bone and muscle growth in children. We can get Vitamin D by being exposed to a little amount of sunlight or by eating foods rich in Vitamin D like fish, milk, and healthy cereals. Vitamin C is also very important and is available in some organic juices and fruits like orange and lime. Vitamin B1 is found in many foods such as rice, peanuts, and soybeans. B1 helps strengthen the nervous system and boosts a healthy heart that provides your organs with blood and helps you to grow well.
As for minerals, zinc is very important as its shortage can cause stunted growth in children. We can supply our children with zinc by feeding them some seafood. Calcium which exists in some foods as eggs and milk products such as cheese and yogurt is very necessary to bone growth and osteoporosis prevention. Children’s meals should not be devoid of protein.
2. Sleeping for a Healthy Body and a Proper Growth Rate
Your child’s body needs to get enough hours of sleeping (about 10 to 12 h/night) that will help ensure a proper growth and better health. It is worth to say that sleeping also supports your brain and shortage of sleeping can affect your brain and other organs function
3- Encourage Your Child to Exercise a Little to Gain Some Centimeters
When we were children, our parents taught us some simple exercises such as hanging on a horizontal bar and stretching the body completely with moving the body forward and backward in a routine called “Hang on”. The second simple exercise you can teach them that he can hop on one of his legs while his hands are stretched up toward the sky, interchanging with the other leg and so on. These exercises are very useful and he/she can do it without training.
Finally, if you notice that your child is growing at a rate less than those who are his age, you must take him/her to see a doctor to conduct some tests, and take the bone X-ray to evaluate growth rate. Some doctors advice to take medications that have necessary ingredients for growth like zinc, vitamins D, B12, and calcium. These pharmaceuticals can boost their growth. Some other doctors may use a synthetic human growth hormone that extracts brain tissues; despite its effectiveness, it is the most expensive method.