Golden time for height development in children

28/05/2024

Until now, people have always attached great importance to height. It is not only an external expression but also a measure of health and development. Human height is determined by many  factors, including genetics, nutrition, environment and lifestyle. However, scientists have confirmed that there is a golden period in height development, which is the period from being a fetus in the mother’s womb to puberty.

The “golden time” for height growth is the period when a child’s growth rate is the strongest. It marks the rapid transformation of the body. By understanding these important stages, mothers can better plan optimal methods of nurturing their children, thereby supporting their children to reach their maximum potential height. The golden time takes place from birth until puberty.

There are 4 stages of human height development: the first 1000 days of life, from 3-13 years old, puberty and post-puberty.

1. The first 1000 days of life

This stage is calculated from the time the child is in the mother’s womb until 24 months of age. This is the golden period of height and physical development. The first 1000 days of life determine up to 60% of a child’s ability to develop height in the future.

1.1 Fetal stage

Starting from the 4th month of pregnancy, the baby’s skeletal system is formed and develops rapidly. At this time, children need to be provided with adequate nutrients, especially calcium, for their bones to grow taller.

Therefore, during pregnancy, especially after the 4th month, pregnant mothers need to eat lots of calcium-rich foods to meet the body’s necessary calcium needs as well as help children reach maximum height upon birthing, creating a premise for children’s future height development. If the pregnant mother has a balanced diet, good spirits, adequate rest, and weight gain of 10-12 kg as recommended by the Ministry of Health, the baby can be born with a standard height of > 50 cm. A healthy pregnancy is the way to help children achieve optimal height when they are born.         

1.2 Stage from 0 to 3 years old

The period under 12 months of age is the period when children reach the fastest growth rate compared to other periods. Children double their birth weight within the first 4-5 months and triple their weight by the end of the first year. By the child’s first birthday, the lying length (ie the child’s height) has increased one and a half times compared to the length at birth.

From 12 to 24 months old, if well nourished, children will grow 25cm in the first 12 months and 10cm in the next year.

1.3. Stage from 3 to 13 years old

After age 2, a child’s height increases 5 – 8 cm in 1 year until puberty. Bone density also increases about 1% a year. This is the period when a child’s height develops most stably. A scientific diet and lifestyle creates a stepping stone for the best development during subsequent puberty period of children.

1.4. Puberty period

For boys, this stage starts from 11 to 18 years old, and for girls, it usually starts from 10 to 16 years old. This is the “last chance” to promote height growth for children because if past this age, the growth cartilage at the ends of the bones will no longer develop, hormone secretion will also gradually decrease, and the skeletal system gradually stabilize and sturdy, the bones will no longer grow but instead increase in bone quality. During this period, there is a difference in the age of height development in boys and girls. However, children can still grow 8-12cm each year until they are 20 years old.

1.5. Post-puberty period

After puberty, a child’s height usually still increases, but not significantly and very slowly. A child’s height at 10 years old determines 80% of their adult height. Therefore, parents should pay special attention to their children’s diet during puberty so that their height can develop optimally.

“Golden period” of children’s height growth

At each stage of development, a child’s height will grow at a different rate. Understanding the necessary needs for height development in each stage will help parents know how to properly care for their children, thereby helping them increase their height in the most optimal way.

So how to optimize height growth during the golden time? Below are some factors that have a profound impact on height development:

Exercises

Proper, scientific exercise not only allows the body to stay healthy and flexible, but also stimulates the body to produce Growth hormone (GH) to help bones grow longer. High-intensity exercise lasting 1.5 – 2 hours/day can increase GH by 3 times. Exercising during the day also helps increase GH at night. To help children increase height, parents can practice height-increasing exercises according to the instructions of a doctor or expert. These exercises include stretching the body with pull-up bars, jumping rope, swimming, etc. to stretch the body, stretch muscles, and stimulate the spine and bones to grow. However, children should only exercise at a moderate level to avoid overexertion.

Exercise allows maximum height development for children

Sleep

Quality sleep is the body’s natural rejuvenation process and is the foundation for development. During deep sleep, the pituitary gland secretes growth hormone, which facilitates tissue growth and repair. Establishing healthy sleep habits, such as consistent bedtimes and creating a calming bedtime routine, is important for promoting growth.

A nice sleep helps children develop their full height

Research shows that when children sleep deeply, the brain secretes a large amount of growth hormone (GH) to help them develop height and weight. Therefore, parents should let children sleep deeply and get enough sleep. The time when the brain secretes the most GH hormone is from 11pm to 1am the next morning. Recommended sleep duration varies depending on age. Below are recommended children’s sleep times:

  • Newborns: 18 – 20 hours/day.
  • 2 – 4 months old children: 16 – 18 hours/day.
  • 4 – 12 months old children: 14 – 15 hours/day.
  • 1 – 3 years old children: 12 – 14 hours/day.
  • 3 – 6 years old children: 10 – 12 hours/day.
  • 7 – 12 years old children: 10 – 11 hours/day.
  • 12 – 18 years old children: 8 – 9 hours/day.

In addition to sufficient sleep time, parents need to create a comfortable, quiet sleeping environment for children and limit the use of electronic devices before bed to avoid affecting sleep quality.

Mentality

For an outstanding height, children also need to maintain a comfortable, happy spirit and avoid stress. Psychological factors affect pituitary function, reducing growth hormone production. If you are constantly in a state of prolonged stress and fatigue, accompanied by symptoms of anxiety and depression, your body will become more severely weakened. The more severe the symptoms of weakness, the more bone density will decrease, thereby reducing the ability to grow in height as well as harm the nervous system. Therefore, parents should pay a lot of attention to their children’s mental health, and create a positive, loving and supportive living environment for their children’s development.

Parents need to maintain a comfortable and happy mentality for their children

Nutrition

As growth spurts begin and hormonal activity increases, adolescents need a nutrient-rich diet to support their rapid growth and development. Proper nutrition during this period is an important foundation for building strong bones, developing lean muscle mass and ensuring overall health.

Calcium: Calcium is one of the main components that make up bones, ensuring the skeletal system develops strong and elastic bones.

Vitamin D: Sufficient vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption in the intestines.

Calcium along with vitamin D3 plays an important role in preventing bone-related problems and supporting proper development.

Protein for muscle growth:  As adolescents go through significant growth spurts, their muscle mass increases, requiring adequate protein intake, including lean protein sources, such as poultry, fish, legumes and produce. Dairy products, in their diet, ensure that they have the amino acids needed for muscle growth and repair.

Nutrition plays an extremely important role in height development

A child’s height development is a long process, not temporary or just in a certain period. Therefore, parents need to pay attention to taking care of and supporting their children to increase their height right from when they are still in the mother’s womb, building a balanced, diverse, reasonable and suitable diet for their needs and age by supplementing foods that support height development such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, nuts, etc. To bring a great nutritional solution for height growth of Vietnamese children, the Nutricare Medical Nutrition Institute – USA together with Nutricare has launched the new Smarta Grow product – outstanding height. The product supplements the trio of nutrients Calcium, K2, D3 providing children with up to 1100 mg of Calcium per day, meeting 100% of the daily nutritional value of the US FDA, helping children develop outstanding height as recommended by the World Health Organization. Along with the 52 essential nutrients combined with DHA, fiber, and protein in the product, it also allows your baby to eat well, thereby supporting weight and height growth. Smarta Grow has been clinically proven to help your babies increase height after 2 months.

For a desirable body shape and height, parents must clearly understand the issues and related influencing factors. From there, parents need to monitor and periodically check their health to detect early problems that affect their children’s height development. To ensure safe and healthy height growth for your kids, parents should still consult with doctors and nutritionists for appropriate nutrition, exercise and health care.  

In short, the period from birth to puberty is the period when children develop their height the most strongly. Therefore, parents need to seize this golden time to pay attention to necessary nutritional supplements and a reasonable exercise regimen to help children develop comprehensively and have the ideal height when entering adulthood.

References:

1. Benyi E., Sävendahl L. The Physiology of Childhood Growth: Hormonal Regulation. Horm. Res. Paediatr. 2017

2.https://chuyentrang.viendinhduong.vn/vi/thong-tin-giao-duc-truyen-thong/mot-so-thoi-diem-va-thuc-pham-giup-tre-phat-trien-chieu-cao-tot-hon.html

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5855597/

4. Van Cauter E, Spiegel K (1999). “Circadian and Sleep Control of Hormonal Secretions”

5. Hirshkowitz M, Whiton K, Albert SM, Alessi C, Bruni O, DonCarlos L, Hazen N, Herman J, Katz ES, Kheirandish-Gozal L, Neubauer DN,O’Donnell AE, Ohayon M, Peever J, Rawding R, Sachdeva RC, Setters B, Vitiello MV, Ware JC, Adams Hillard PJ. National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Sleep Health

6. Benyi E., Sävendahl L. The Physiology of Childhood Growth: Hormonal Regulation. Horm. Res. Paediatr. 2017

7.https://suckhoedoisong.vn/tang-chieu-cao-hieu-qua-bang-nhung-cach-nhu-the-nao-169130438.htm#:~:text=Y%E1%BA%BFu%20t%E1%BB%91%20t%C3%A2m%20l%C3%BD%20%E1%BA%A3nh,v%C3%
A0%20ph%C3%A1t%20tri%E1%BB%83n%20to%C3%A0n%20di%E1%BB%87n.

8. https://www.niams.nih.gov/vi/health-topics/calcium-and-vitamin-d-important-bone-health

9. Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health

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