Ep. #21 How tall can your child grow and what to do to catch short stature in time.

Ep. #21 How tall can your child grow and what to do to catch short stature in time.

Today’s episode is for all those parents who are worried about their child’s growth and development. Height is determined by genetics, hormones, environment and diet. Here we will discuss all the factors that might lead to stunted growth or your child not reaching his full genetic potential in height.

Every mom has a constant worry in the back of her mind, whether her child is eating well, and growing right or not. We try to map our kid’s growth by the portions of food they finish. What we eat doesn’t always translate into growth. 

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All we can do is ensure a balanced diet along with good physical exercise and wait for the next check-up where the paediatrician decides whether our child has been growing well or not.

Today’s episode is all about myth-busting and clearing all your doubts related to growth and hormonal changes in children. For this, we have with us a special guest who is a dear friend and a Pediatric endocrinologist- Dr. Alok Sardesai. He has done a specialization in paediatrics followed by a  Post Doctoral Fellowship in Pediatric and Adolescent Endocrinology. He holds special expertise in the management of Juvenile Diabetes Mellitus.

He is currently practising as a consultant at various private and government hospitals across Bombay like apollo hospital, Mala’s children’s clinic and more. Apart from being an avid reader and a  nature enthusiast he is great with kids

Growth has many determinants. Like the food we eat, our genetic makeup, how lean or fat our parents and grandparents have been, hormonal changes at puberty, the general environment that the child is growing up in, whether it is a happy household or one riddled with emotional trauma. The number one question that I as a physician get faced with, is

What should I do to increase my child’s height?

Every other parent.

I mean whats this perception of a person with good height being beautiful. I feel its all a Psychological construct created by the society. We can’t change peoples perceptions about it we can surely try to break them using scientific facts. 

If the parents are tall they expect their kids to be of similar proportions in height. Is it really the case? 

In an ideal case with an ideal genetic makeup with ideal environmental conditions and health, the answer is yes, but we live in an imperfect world and this statement is not always true 

Speaking of Genetics, a child gets a set of genes from the father and a set from the mother but he also has his own genetic makeup and variants/abnormalities in these Genes can lead to short stature. 

Not only that, but even the hunger and satiety of the child are genetically determined. Our brain has different centres for each of these things. If you see a child eating more, for eg. a child who is chubby and is habitutated to eating between meals then it couldb e out of boredom. But if the child is also gaining weight then that is a cause of concern. 

What should cause an alarm is eating and not getting a feeling of fullness. It can be manifested as the absence of satisfaction even after a full meal. Other contributory factors include Environment factors that play a role in determining the childs height, but they cant be controlled.

Also disease state of the child i.e. If the child has been frequently ill or had prolonged periods of illnesses then his height will be affected. That is the effect of the general health of the child on his height.  Puberty is the last growth spurt that your child receives. It can be early or late and in both cases, the child can end up with short stature. so if you have a girl child look out for menses and other signs of puberty.

When you visit your pediatrician with a concern of your child’s height, then he might examine him and determine his Mid parental height. It is a sex-adjusted average of the parental heights and is usually the target range for the child’s final height. If the child has slow growth velocity then growth hormone is one intervention that can be used to help the child reach his predicted adult height.

Where SD is Standard deviation. (image ref. St. Botanica hospital, Bronx)

Catching short stature, growth retardation, slowing requires regular paediatrician visits even if there is nothing wrong with the child. it is so the doctor can track the child’s growth and plot is against the normal and find if your child is developing right or not. Many Growth tracking apps are also available and Growth tracking tools that require a parent to only measure the height and weight of the child monthly.

RESOURCES

You can connect with Dr. Alok Sardesai on his social media

Connect with Dr. Alok below

If you wish to get a consultation with dr. Alok then he runs Clinics which deal with hormonal problems in children and adolescents in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane.

  • T2T Hormone Clinics India Private Limited, Andheri 
  • Apollo Hospital Navi Mumbai 
  • Sparsh Children’s Hospital, Parel 
  • Colours Children’s Hospital, Navi Mumbai 
  • Mala Children’s Hospital, Thane 

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Happy Parenting

This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. Harjeet Kaur

    i always wondered why my second brother and I were short and my other 3 siblings were tall. thanks for busting the myths

    1. Dr. Rahat Sayyad

      Yea there are so many cases around us. Genetics is the answer most of the time, if not then hitting puberty early and early stopping of the growth process.

  2. Cindy Dsilva

    Oh yes I hope that the parents height won’t be the only hope for the child coz I’m hoping my children become tall though I’m a puny and short woman!

    1. Dr. Rahat Sayyad

      Ha ha. In my next post i will be talking about interventions that can be taken to help the child reach the height according to his full genetic potential. It can easily be determined whether the child is faltering in his growth and steps can be taken to put him/her back on track.

  3. The Champa Tree

    All these mill supplement ads about height has made the parents more paranoid about height. Your post helps in bringing some sense in them.

  4. Dr. Surbhi Prapanna

    Well my girls are taller than their age..so i never had height concern. your post is really informative and will help a lot parents to understand all important factors that affect the growth and height of their kids.

    1. Dr. Rahat Sayyad

      That must be a relief. Growth and development are constant sources of worry for most parents.

  5. Bhawna Shah

    This post is very beneficial to all those parents who are worried for their kids height. There are lot of things i came across after reading.

    1. Amrit Kaur

      This article came in time. I waa talking about my nephew’s height with my bhabhi yesterday. I am sharing this with her now. It will be useful for her.

  6. Metamorphosis

    In our society there are so many taboo’s and having short height is one of them. Your post will definitely help in breaking some of the myths for sure. I really liked the way you have explained everything and thank to Dr. Alok for his expert advice.

  7. Roma

    Thank you for sharing the height calculation chart, this article is indeed so insightful. At that age should be start worrying for our kid’s height.

  8. Ruchie

    Thanks for sharing this very informative post and busting so many myths. I really love the explanation given by doctor Alok.

      1. Dr. Alok Sardesai

        Thank you

  9. mummatalks

    It’s very normal for us to attach kids physical and behavioral development with their parents genetics…. while I am an average sized woman, I wish for my kids to be taller than me.

    1. Dr. Rahat Sayyad

      You can get your child’s height predicted and know what is his genetic potential height that I he can reach. Then work towards reaching that goal.

  10. Dr.Rahat, you have explained all the details related to the height very well. One needs to be aware that all the genes effect in child differently. I will use the calculator to calculate my child height and will share with my friends.

    1. Dr. Rahat Sayyad

      Thats great. You can also use an app by Indian Association of Pediatrics for tracking your childs growth. Its available on the app store.

  11. Shweta

    To give you an example, my husband and his brother are 6’2 but their parents are in the range 5’2 – 5’5. None of thier family members (both mom and dad side are tall)
    Sometimes it is not about genetics too. I think nutrition has so much to play.
    I totally agree that short height is looked upon as a taboo and it should be broken.
    Loved your pointers.

    1. Dr. Rahat Sayyad

      Infact it is about genetics only. Nutrition can only provide a boost. To help understand this better, genetic makeup of a child isnt just what his parents have. After permutation and combination, its a new structure now that haas all different qualities some similar some different from the parents

    2. Dr. Alok Sardesai

      “Genetics” does not necessary mean hereditary. In this context we are talking about hereditary factors as well as a person’s own composition which can be different from his/her parents.

  12. Jhilmil D Saha

    This is a common concern in parents. I am no exception. Thanks gor busting the myths around height.

  13. Sandy N Vyjay

    You have busted so many myths here. Ultimately it is all in the genes. I guess one need not really be obsessed about childrens’ height, after all the best of people have come in small packages!

    1. Dr. Rahat Sayyad

      Totally agree with you. Like i said tall height equals beauty is social construct created by the society

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