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Average Height And Weight Of Children And Factors Affecting It

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The average height of children is usually monitored through a growth chart that gives information on ideal height and weight for children corresponding to their age. A child’s average height needs to be tallied with their weight and age to ensure steady and healthy growth.

Children in similar age groups may differ in their height due to different reasons. These can include genetic, medicinal, health, and hormonal factors. It is recommended that you measure your child’s growth two times in a year (1) to help determine an underlying condition that affects your child’s growth and seek timely treatment.

Read on as we discuss the average height of children, the factors affecting it.

What Is The Average Height By Age?

According to the growth charts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children below the 5th percentile are considered short-statured, while those above the 95th percentile fall in the tall category (2). This table consists of the average height and weight according to the age of children.

AgeHeight – Females

(in inches)

Height – Males

(in inches)

Weight – Females

(in pounds)

Weight – Males

(in pounds

127 to 3128 to 3215 to 2017 to 21
231.5 to 3632 to 3722 to 3224 to 34
334.5 to 4035.5 to 40.526 to 3826 to 38
437 to 42.537.5 to 4328 to 4430 to 44
642 to 4942 to 4936 to 6036 to 60
847 to 5447 to 5444 to 8046 to 78
1050 to 5950.5 to 5954 to 10654 to 102
1255 to 6454 to 63.568 to 13666 to 130
1459 to 67.559 to 69.584 to 16084 to 160
1660 to 6863 to 7394 to 172104 to 186
1860 to 68.565 to 74100 to 178116 to 202

Source: Stanford Children’s Health

Note: You may find your child not growing according to the above figures, and it should not be taken as an immediate concern. At times, some children tend to achieve the required height or growth at a different age. However, if there is no significant improvement upon regular monitoring, you may consult a pediatrician.

What Factors Can Affect A Child’s Height And Weight?

Children may deviate from the normal growth pattern due to different factors that might require medical attention.

Factors affecting the height of a child (3)

  1. Hereditary: A child may be shorter or taller than the average height due to a family history of short or tall stature. Children may also inherit their growth patterns from parents or other family members.
  1. Developmental delay: A short stature can result from growth and pubertal delay. Some children reach the age of puberty later than the rest, and as a result, the normal growth is slowed down. However, most achieve normal growth by adolescence.
  1. Health issue: Different underlying health conditions can also prevent a child from achieving the normal height. These may include
    • A lack of adequate nutrition
    • Kidney, lung, or heart disorder
    • Digestive system problems
    • Excessive, persistent stress
  1. Hormonal issue: Any hormonal imbalance in the body may affect growth. Several hormonal issues affecting growth include:
    • Reduced levels of the thyroid hormone required for normal bone development.
    • Any damage to the pituitary gland, responsible for human growth hormone secretion, can also affect the growth. Such growth hormone deficiency in the body can lead to a constitutional delay in growth and development.
    • Cushing syndrome, caused due to excess secretion of the hormone cortisol, can affect the height and growth of the body.
    • The above hormonal issues can give rise to early puberty called precocious puberty. This, in turn, can cause an abnormally fast growth during childhood followed by a sudden decrease in growth during adulthood, leading to short stature.
  1. Gigantism: One of the growth disorders is gigantism. Some children achieve a remarkable height at a young age compared to their friends of a similar age group. This can be due to an increased secretion rate of growth hormones in the body.
  1. Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR): IUGR refers to the condition where the growth of the baby is affected inside the womb. Lack of care during pregnancy or smoking during pregnancy can affect the baby’s growth, causing it to be weaker or shorter at birth.
  1. Genetic abnormality: Genetic abnormalities can also affect a child’s growth. These include:
    • Turner syndrome, due to a missing X chromosome, causes a delay in the growth and puberty of a girl.
    • Down syndrome, caused by the presence of an additional 21st chromosome, also affects the normal growth development leading to short stature.
    • Achondroplasia is one of the most common types of dwarfism. Caused by a genetic mutation, this condition prevents the conversion of cartilage to bone, delaying bone growth. This leads to short-limbed dwarfism.

Factors affecting the weight of a child (4) (5)

  1. Hereditary or genetic issues: While obesity may happen due to family history, genes have also been shown to cause a child to gain weight at an unusual rate and thus become obese.
  1. Prenatal influences: Pregnant women who are overweight or smoke may cause their children to become overweight at birth or as infants. This can further be a cause of adult obesity.
  1. Diet: An unhealthy diet can not only cause obesity but also cause underweight. While excessive intake of red meat, sugar, and unhealthy cholesterol can lead to obesity, inadequate intake can result in malnutrition.
  1. Lack of physical activity: The fact that most children are drawn to their TVs, phones, and gadgets, cannot be denied. Due to easy access to technology, children hardly indulge in physical activity and gain unhealthy weight.
  1. Hindrance in food intake: Like obesity, malnutrition can also greatly affect a child’s overall growth and development. Some factors contributing to such problems include:
    • Allergy to certain foods may prevent a child from intake of adequate nutrients required for a healthy weight gain.
    • Gastroesophageal reflux can interfere with digestion and cause them to vomit after eating frequently.
    • Cystic fibrosis, a disorder of the lungs and the digestive system, may prevent the body from calorie absorption.
    • If a child suffers from an eating disorder, it can prevent intake of sufficient food.
  1. External factors: These refer to the unhealthy environment surrounding a child, including the increased availability of fast foods and junk foods and lack of safe playgrounds for children. All of these may lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.

Healthy development is not only related to a child’s weight but also a steady growth. While the height may vary from child to child, a drastic deviation from the normal growth pattern can raise concerns. Hence, regular monitoring and pediatrician visits can help ensure your child’s healthy growth and development.

References:

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Aneesha Amonz

Aneesha holds a Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology from USTM, Meghalaya and Master’s degree in Applied Microbiology from VIT, Vellore. She has worked on different research projects in the field of Food Sciences. In addition, she has an internship experience in Oil India Limited as an R&D project trainee. As a writer at MomJunction, Aneesha ensures her content is engaging and... more