Is My Child Normal Height For Their Age?
As your child grows, it’s normal to wonder whether or not they’re at the height they’re supposed to be. Are they just small now but will experience a growth spurt later? Are their friends and classmates just taller than average? It’s hard to come up with an answer by just looking at your kid, so it’s important to know how height works before jumping to any conclusions.
How Do Doctors Determine Normal Height?
Doctors generally use growth charts to determine whether a child’s height is “normal” for their age. What matters more than how tall they are is the rate at which they are growing. Growth charts do show how kids are growing compared with kids of their same age and gender, but they are also used to track a pattern of a particular child’s height and weight gain over time to see if they are developing proportionately.
If your child is growing at the same pattern until a certain age and suddenly starts growing at a much slower weight, a growth chart could help a doctor indicate a potential health problem. If this is the case, they can track your child over the course of a few months to see if there is actually an issue.
What Causes Slower Growth/Shorter Height?
It’s important to note that height is predominantly determined by genetics. About 60 to 80 percent of the difference in height is determined by genetic factors, while the remaining 20 to 40 is influenced by environmental factors like nutrition and other lifestyle factors.
So if your child has parents that are on the shorter side, it should come as no surprise that they too might be shorter than their classmates. This would no cause for alarm. Children with shorter parents tend to find themselves in the lower portions of the growth charts throughout their lives. This doesn’t indicate any medical problems, and they generally enter puberty at a normal age despite their shorter stature.
It’s also possible that your child’s timing of growth just happens to be delayed compared to other children. This is also something that is passed down genetically. Many kids who are short for their age end up growing taller at a later time and end up at a regular height as adults, ultimately “catching up” with their peers. This also does not indicate any medical issues.
If your doctor does find that your child is growing at a slow rate or not at all, they will test them for possible medical conditions that could be responsible for this stunted growth. Possible issues could include chronic illness affecting the organs, inadequate nutrition, significant stress, insufficient production of hormones, or genetic conditions.
How Can You Encourage Your Child To Grow Taller?
Since you can’t control your genes, you can only control certain lifestyle factors such as making sure your child is eating enough nutrients and getting enough sleep. Making sure your child is eating full, balanced meals is especially important, as undernutrition can stunt growth.
Important nutrients for height include protein, zinc, iron, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D, although protein seems to be the most essential. Adequate nutrition before and during puberty is crucial for height, as boys will reach their maximum height in their late teens, and girls reach their maximum heights around their mid-teens. With that being said, if a child naturally has “short genes” pushing them to eat more than they need to is not going to help them become a 6-foot tall basketball player.
But, if you find that your child is struggling with growth or is in the low percentile of height, you might want to consider Healthy Height™. Our nutritional shake mix can be added to any drink to help promote healthy height for kids who are struggling. Healthy Height™ is designed and developed by doctors and nutritionists and its nutritional profile was shown in a clinical study to promote growth for healthy and lean children ages 3-9.
Healthy Height™ is made with whey protein which has been shown to have a great impact on linear growth compared to other proteins, as well as vitamins and minerals. When it comes to gauging your child’s height, it’s best to consult with a medical professional who can help give you the most accurate information about your child’s growth.