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THE IDEAL HEIGHT
New parents are constantly worried of whether their child is growing normally or not. The fact is that every child is different and his or her growth rate can be different from other kids of the same age. But, experts say that this is perfectly normal.
- Birth to 12 months: Infants add about 25cm in length and the birth weight triples
- 12 to 24 months: Toddlers add about 12cm and 3kg
- 2 to 10 years: The growth patterns of children get regularized adding about 6cm and 3kg each year
- Puberty: Girls grow about 23cm and gain 7-25kg; boys grow 28cm and gain up to 29kg
Ways to monitor the growth
The new growth chart used by doctors includes averages for children born anywhere in the world. It tracks body mass which helps to keep a watch on chances of obesity. The growth disorders are usually identified by pediatricians. But, studies show that about 70% of the children are wrongly measured during checkups.
It is recommended that parents make sure the measurements are right and the information is correctly entered. Watch out for the following signs which may require attention:
- Height seems off when compared to parents’ heights
- Huge variation from the averages
- He reduces 20 percentile points in subsequent years
- Gains weight rapidly than gaining height
- Puberty comes very late or very early
Consult a specialist if you find any of the above.
The size of a newborn baby depends on hereditary factors. Firstborn children are smaller and boys are usually larger than girls.
The environment factors affecting newborn’s size:
- Mother’s weight – more weight and the baby is larger too
- Pregnancy weight gain – low weight gain (under 4.5kg) means a smaller baby
- Mom’s habits (smoking, caffeine) – both hinder unborn baby’s growth
- Mom’s chronic illness (like diabetics) – large babies
First two years
A baby’s growth depends on 2 factors – birth size and the size fixed by hereditary factors. Meena’s son Rohan was 58cm when born and the doctors predicted a great increase in height. But based on Meena’s and husband’s height, Rohan’s growth slowed by the time he was 3 and his height was normal for his age.
It is seen that increase in height and weight gain happens in short bursts of rapid growth. The growth of a child during a spurt and its duration differs from one child to another. It is normal to see a visible change in a matter of weeks.
Growth experts say that the growth in children seems to follow a seasonal pattern. They tend to grow fastest in summer and slowest in the fall.
Doctors vouch that the human growth hormone which is responsible for growth is produced in larger quantities during night than the day. So, it is important for children to get good night’s sleep during childhood and adolescence.
After infancy, rapid changes in children happen in tween and teen years. For boys, the growth spurt starts at about 12 years and continue till 17 while for girls it starts between 10-11 years and lasts till 15. After they have had their first period, girls stop growing in about 3 years. Interestingly, boys grow throughout their teen years.