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Today in Health & Wellness

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"Normal growth of children, plus factors"
By: Ma. Jocelyn A. Niere-Quidlat, MD, FPPSShooting up

In these modern times, it is a given that people have grown taller as compared to the previous generations. One may notice, however, that there are some individuals who do not conform to the norm in the aspect of growth. Some individuals may be a lot taller, while some may be shorter.

A child’s task is to grow and develop. If a child has an abnormal growth, meaning he is growing much slower or a lot faster than children his age, then he may have a growth disorder.

Upon birth, the baby is weighed; the height, head circumference, and chest circumference are measured. The pediatrician plots the different measurements taken in a growth chart. Over the years, several measurements of height and weight of children from birth until 18 years of age are taken. These data are used to construct a standard growth chart, which aids the physician in monitoring whether the child is growing normally as he should. Once the doctor notices that the kid is not growing normally, then he has to check for the reasons why it is happening.

Growth is the reaction of several factors such as genes, hormones, nutrition, psyche, and metabolism. Genes predispose a person to be short, of average height, or tall through various mechanisms. The father’s and the mother’s heights are considered. The mid-parental height is taken; then the tentative height of the child is computed. The height of a person depends on the inherited parental genes. 

Certain glands in the body produce chemical messengers called hormones. Most hormones play a major role after birth. Somatotropin or growth hormone and the sex steroids affect growth independently and interdependently.

The psyche also plays a prominent role in growth as exemplified by the slow growth observed in patients with psychosocial short stature.

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