There are many things that physicians consider when evaluating a child’s growth. They consider (but this list is not everything they consider.)
- Family genetics (how tall the parents are)
- Growth history of the child (how much he/she has grown over the past years)
- Nutrition and other possible medical complications
But as parents, you know your child the best. Trust your instincts! Here are some basics to help you understand…
- Children after the age of about 2 and half years of age (and before puberty) should grow a MINIMUM of 2.5 inches or 5.08 centimeters each year. Anything less than 2.5 inches (5.08 centimeters) or much more than that could indicate a health problem.
- Measuring a child too often can give incorrect information. It is wise to look at growth no more than in 6 month increments (unless done by a physician) and a yearly number is good. Some children are what we parents call “seasonal growers”. These kids grow better in the summer or other seasons – because of the value of exercise and other factors on their growth.
- Some families assume that because mom and dad were short, their children will be too. However, mom and dad could have had less favorable nutrition (using just one example) as children causing their lack of healthy growth. Their children may not have the same issues. Therefore, the growth markers for these children are important to monitor. Do not assume it is genetics!
- “Late bloomers” are children who go into puberty later than their friends. This is a genetic trait. However, there are syndromes which can cause puberty to fail, or come way to early. WATCH the growth chart! If they fail to maintain a strong and fairly consistent growth pattern- get them to the doctor to be safe! Don’t wait! Children have a short time to grow and a lifetime to live with the results!
- The type of doctor who evaluates children for growth failure, or too much growth is called a pediatric endocrinologist.
How many medical conditions can influence a child’s growth?
According to the POSSUM database, which is one of the world’s leading databases for rare conditions, there are more than 600 medical conditions which can impact a child’s healthy growth. As parents, the faster you can identify and possibly treat the cause-the less likely your child will have complications throughout their lifetime.
Use the links on the upper right side to measure your child, use a growth chart and determine as parents can…if we need to be concerned…Step 1= go to Measuring Your Child.
If you have questions, there are 2 fantastic resources for parent to parent information: