Growth Basics
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Basics about Growth




What is Growth?

Growth is the basic characteristic of all forms of life. While growth occurs naturally in children, it is nevertheless on of the most complex and astonishing phenomenon in nature.


What are the factors affecting growth?

The factors can be divided into 3 basic categories:

  • Environmental
  • Hereditary
  • Hormonal


  • Environmental factors include prenatal, maternal, social economic status, climate, physical activity, nutrition and psychological stress.

  • Hereditary factors include sex, race, genetic factors and congenital anomalies.

  • Hormonal factors include thyroid hormone, growth hormone, sex hormone, insulin, cortisol and growth factors.


What is short stature?

Short stature is the medical term for when a child's height is significantly below average for age, sex, race, or family.


What causes short stature?

As we already saw above any of the three cardinal factors related to the environment, hereditary or hormonal may be implicated.

Causes of short stature fall into one of several types:


  • Constitutional delay of growth and maturation, a slow growth pattern that often runs in the family. There is usually a delay in growth during puberty. There is also a delay in puberty. However, these children often keep growing after their peers stop growing. Normal height is reached.
  • Familial short stature. In this situation, children have short parents. They grow at a normal rate and reach puberty at a normal age. They become short adults with heights that reflect that of their parents.
  • Idiopathic short stature (ISS). Idiopathic means we don't know the cause. These children become short adults.
  • Chronic disease - several diseases can cause short stature. There are usually other symptoms and physical signs.


How do I know that my child is not having any growth problem?

Read our next section regarding evaluation for short stature..