How to make your child reach his full height potential
Every parent wants his or her children to be of an attractive height. It has to do with many “positive” traits that height is perceived to endow a child with. It could be to do with athletic ability; taller height being considered more attractive; research showing taller people have more success in terms of their careers and pay, etc.
Short in comparison to peers
If you have a child that is much shorter than his/her peers then you should research into why this might be the case. Of course, genetic predisposition will have a great bearing on a child's height, so for example, if you and your partner are relatively short, then the likelihood of your offspring being short is quite high. However, today, it is very noticeable that children generally tend to relatively outgrow their parents quite substantially; perhaps it is because of the diet that children and exercise children are now accustomed to when growing up.
Predicting a child's height
You should have a fairly good idea as to how tall your child should eventually become based on your and your partner's height. Height of children can also be determined by trends over time. The average height today is more than what it was say, even 20 years ago, so children are expected to be taller. However average height means there will people both taller but also shorter than this figure. Unfortunately, not all children reach their full potential in terms of their maximum possible adult height.
Here are some tips that will help give your child the maximum potential to reach his/her full adult height.
- Nutritional Diet - Provide the child with a nutritional diet that is high in protein and contains above adequate levels of calcium. Protein aids the growth of muscle and bones; calcium helps to develop the bones as well. An all round nutritional diet containing vitamins and minerals is highly recommended. With so many households now eating out in fast food restaurants with meat such as burgers being consumed regularly, is can assumed this would provide a significant proportion of the required nutritional requirements. Daily consumption of fruits and vegetables is highly important because of the very rich nutritional content of such foods. Milk is also highly recommended. A glass of skimmed milk before bedtime should also be taken
- Exercise - Make sure the child gets regular exercise. Participating in sports or jogging is a great way release growth hormones, which of course helps to aid a child's growth. There are some suggestions that skipping can help to increase height because it makes the spine (vertebrae to elongate when the motion of jumping is repeatedly carried out). The same can true for biking as it elongates the bones in the leg when peddling. Some suggest raising the height of the seat will have better effect because it would require the legs to be more stretched.
- Stretching – Mild stretching can also help a child grow because it helps to lengthen the spine which acts to decompress the spine which will act as an opposing force to any compression the spine might endure during the course of the day. Of course, since the growth plates will not fuse until when they have become an adult, the lengthening of the spine during exercise can help to stimulate lengthening with the help of release of growth hormones.
- Sleep – Make sure the child gets adequate amount of sleep every night. It is recommended that they get at least 8 hours sleep every night. Sleep helps to release growth hormones. It is thought much of the growth is done while at sleep. According to research carried out by scientists at the University of Wisconsin, it showed baby lambs experienced most growth while asleep as the leg bones elongated. They found almost all growth occurred when the lambs were lying down and virtually none when they were standing or walking. This could be de to the compression on the legs when standing. The scientists suggest the same is also likely true for humans.
You can also resort to growth hormones to help maximise height. Some parents resort to this when left with no other options. It can be fairly expensive to administer a course of human growth hormones (HGH). There is also the possibility of side effects, though they are slightly exaggerated in most part.
There are some activities the child might get involved in that might restrict or impede them from reaching their full height potential. Here are some activities that a child might get involved in through their adolescence that might hinder their growth.
The child should avoid:
- Weight training from an early age - Lifting heavy weights can put the body under stress. Although there is not much scientific research to suggest height is stunted as a result of lifting weights that are too heavy, it nonetheless is widely accepted lifting very heavy weights will put to much stress on the spine, leg bones and joint which could impede growth. Also, if the child is not too tall, being too muscular and bulky can give the impression shorter height than is actually the case.
- Smoking – There are suggestions that smoking during adolescence can stunt growth as a result of health problems brought on by smoking, though there is no hard evidence that smoking can directly stunt growth.
- Not to risk causing an injury - Some injuries, especially when they involve breaking a leg or damaging the spine by compression, can help to stunt growth because of the damage, which could stop it from lengthening.
Medicinal side effects can stunt growth
Although this is rare, but there are some treatments given to children that can actually stunt growth. For example, some studies indicate some drugs used to treat Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can actually suppress growth to an extent.
You can talk to your physician who might be able to guide you on some of the treatments that might stunt growth. You will also be able to find information on the net on some of the medicines that are known to possibly stunt height.
Also, it should be remembered that child may reach his full potential height at a fairly young age e.g. at 13-14 and not grow at all after that. Its quite rare but does happen. How you, as a parent, are to know that the child has reached their full potential adult height? Well, you can always test with your physician to check whether the growth plates have fused? If not, you will need to assume they can still grow and heed some of the tips mentioned here.