Growth Problems in Children: What You Should Know

Every child has a different growth pace, one child’s growth cannot be compared with another. Despite this, it is important that parents observe their children as they grow.
Due to the fact that every child has his/her own growth rate, growth disorders may be missed if a child is not observed closely and regularly.

Stunted growth or growth failure is a reduced growth rate in human development. It can be caused by different reasons, such as: 

  • malnutrition,
  • maternal nutrition,
  • poor sanitation,
  • diseases or infections,
  • syndromes like Turner’s syndrome and Down syndrome,
  • lack of growth hormone,
  • dwarfism etc.

As of 2012 an estimated 162 million children under 5 years of age, or 25%, were stunted in 2012. More than 90% of the world’s stunted children live in Africa and Asia, where respectively 36% and 56% of children are affected.

Signs of growth problems can be noted if a child is smaller than other children of his/her age; more especially, if a child is the size of other children that are two or more years younger than they are. Another way a child’s growth problem can be noted is after measurements of length or height show a slower than normal rate of growth. This can be carried out by a doctor.

Other symptoms will depend on the cause of the stunted growth.

Certain tests can help determine if your child has a growth delay. A hand and wrist X-ray can provide important information regarding your child’s bone development in relationship to his or her age. Blood tests can pick up problems with hormone production or detect stomach, bowel, kidney, or bone disease.

Growth problems may or may not be treated with medication. Children should be taken for medical checkup regularly, so as to notice or prevent health abnormalities. If a specific disease was determined as the cause for stunted growth, then, certain treatment options may be available to increase the child’s final height.