What Factors Contribute To A Child’s Growth?


What factors contribute to a child’s growth retardation?


Growth is influenced by heredity, constitutional characteristics, and the presence of diseases. Growth hormone deficiency is rare; constitutional growth characteristics are more common (especially in boys).

Children of short parents with so-called “family delayed maturation” grow poorly. If you’re curious about your child’s height then with a height calculator, you can predict the height of your child.

Stunted growth and puberty can be observed both with sharp underweight as a result of insufficient calorie intake or unbalanced nutrition (anorexia nervosa, trying to lose weight on low-calorie diets), and with obesity in adolescents. 

The main reference point to which attention should be paid when excluding the hormonal problem of growth retardation (growth hormone deficiency) is the absence of the child’s growth dynamics during the year.


Can nutrition affect a child’s growth?


Yes, maybe. To maintain the concentration and rhythm of growth hormone secretion, a complete and balanced diet (a sufficient amount and the correct balance of not only proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, but also vitamins and minerals) is essential. This is a fairly common cause of stunting in children.

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In the first years of life, growth retardation may occur due to malnutrition, impaired intestinal absorption. If a child from early childhood lags behind in growth from peers, and the reason for the lag is unclear, it is imperative to exclude the latent course of celiac disease in the child – a disease accompanied by intolerance to gluten (gluten) – a protein found in wheat and some other cereals. 

Intestinal dysfunctions lead to the development of absorption of essential nutrients.


How to increase the secretion of growth hormone in a natural way, with the help of nutrition?


  • It has been proven that protein-energy malnutrition, nutritional deficiencies of vitamins (A, D). And minerals (calcium, iron, iodine, zinc, etc.) lead to impaired growth. Protein is essential for the proper formation of bone and cartilage tissue. As well as for the formation of hormones that regulate growth, including growth hormone itself. 
  • Accordingly, a lack of protein in food can directly affect growth retardation. In addition, a deficiency of complete protein disrupts the absorption of vitamins and minerals from food. Protein deficiency in children can be manifested by a decrease in muscle mass (including body weight) and muscle pain, linear deformation of the bones, changes in the skin (discoloration, dry flaky skin, ulcers, and wounds that do not heal for a long time).


How does vitamin D affect growth?


  • Vitamin D, by regulating phosphorus and calcium and increasing calcium absorption in the intestine, regulates bone metabolism, preventing the development of rickets and osteoporosis. Food sources are animal liver, egg yolk, milk, butter, sour cream, and caviar. 
  • By increasing sun exposure, you can achieve prevention of vitamin D deficiency, eating foods rich in vitamin D, and taking daily vitamin D., especially during adolescence. 
  • Meanwhile, in our country, among all groups of the population, there is a deficiency of vitamin D of varying degrees, which requires. When eliminating the deficit, the connection of therapeutic doses, and not in a coarse mode, but its long use.


What else will help “catch up” growth?


For the formation of growth hormone, the requirement of zinc is there, which stimulates the formation and mineralization of bone tissue, participates in the formation of enzymes that regulate the growth and metabolism of protein. In the body, about 30% of all zinc is there in the bones. The main source of zinc is meat products. In addition, foods rich in zinc include pumpkin, zucchini seeds, crab meat, and peanuts.

Unfortunately, Western Siberia belongs to the regions not only deficient in iodine, but also in iron. Here is the note that latent (latent) iron deficiency can occur in 50-60% of adolescents. 

It is logical to assume that the nutrition and respiration of any cell, especially one that grows like bone, will need good iron supplements. In addition, the hypoxia that develops with iron deficiency will also affect the synthesis of growth hormones.

Linear growth (especially in the first years of a child’s life) and thyroid hormones, for the formation of which iodine and animal protein are Important, are in control. Let me remind you that the perfect combination of this is sea fish and seaweed. 

In our traditional (“fish-free”) diet, you can find much less iodine. Consider every opportunity to include iodine-fortified foods (such as salt and bread) in your diet.  In our body everything has interconnection.

Thus, only a varied, not the same type of food from day to day, with the inclusion of all food groups, can improve the growth performance of a child and adolescent.


What other factors, besides nutrition, can affect growth?


For the normal development of a child, the following are also important: the quality and duration of sleep. The increase in the duration of sleep helps to increase the release of development hormones. It is advisable for adolescents to sleep 8-10 hours during this period. 

In addition to sleep, regular physical aerobic activity: swimming, gymnastics (horizontal bar), athletics. Anaerobic exercise (marathons, weightlifting) can lead to a delay in the pace and ultimately to the achievement of a small final height.



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