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Do young children grow in spurts

Do young children grow in spurts


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It is a commonplace of my friends and relatives to remark that a young child (younger than 3 years) has had a recent "growth spurt". The underlying assumption is that young children do not grow taller continuously and steadily, but have periods of rapid growth between periods of slow growth. But is that assumption true? I'm sceptical; I'm inclined to believe that growth is steady, and the idea of growth spurts is a flaw of perception.

So, what research have I done so far on this question? I've seen the height-age charts for children, and they are smooth, so there are no growth spurts synchronised across all children. But that smooth averaged growth could result from the average of many non smooth growth rates. So the question is about when considering a single child. A web search about children's growth spurts shows numerous parenting web-sites that assume that growth-spurts happen, without asking whether growth spurts actually happen. I found an old press release from Emory University about some research supporting the idea, but no better information.


Growth is neither even nor constant, It can vary quite a bit from month to month as hormone levels change, the growth curves you are seeing are a rough average.

You are having a hard time finding anything because it one of those pieces of knowledge that is so old people only rarely research it directly focusing more on deviations from it and you will likely only find good reference to it in textbooks. For a layman this means searches based on the terms you think you should use never find what you want, something as simple as adding the word "textbook" can make a huge difference. Google scholar will also help.

http://adc.bmj.com/content/51/3/170.short

https://books.google.com/books?id=YA-LdtyHJ9QC&pg=PA226&dq=evolution+of+the+growth+spurt&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjkl4zCztjRAhVB74MKHRiuB7kQ6AEIHzAA#v=onepage&q&f=false


What Is a Normal Growth Rate for Young Children?

Vincent Iannelli, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Iannelli has cared for children for more than 20 years.

Sarah Rahal, MD is a double board-certified adult and pediatric neurologist and headache medicine specialist.

A normal rate of growth is one that follows the curves on the standardized growth charts used by pediatricians. While charts have been used for the past 50 years to track children's growth, they were updated to the current versions in 2000 to reflect greater ethnic and cultural diversity.

Taking regular measurements of your child's height, weight, and head circumference and plotting them on a growth chart are a good way to see if their growth is normal. Your pediatrician takes these same measurements and uses them to assess your child's physical development.

Tracking Your Child's Growth with Charts

Growth charts are available online for parents and caregivers to print out. You can also ask for a copy of your child's chart at your pediatrician's office.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using the following growth charts:

  • World Health Organization (WHO) charts for children 0-2 years old
  • CDC growth charts for children older than 2 years

Both of these charts are available on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) website.


Celiac Disease Fairly Common in Children With Short Stature

Since children grow at dramatically different rates, it's common to see similar-aged peers with one towering over the other. Just being shorter than average isn't enough to qualify a child for short stature—  

Even then, that short stature might not be cause for concern if your child has been growing at a steady rate and seems to be headed for normal (although perhaps somewhat short-normal) adult height. It's when children "fall off the growth charts," or suddenly slow or halt their growth, that you may need to investigate a reason for the problem with your pediatrician.

Several studies have investigated how many children with short stature actually suffer from celiac disease. They have found rates of celiac from about 3% to more than 8% in children with otherwise unexplained short stature. (As a reference point, celiac disease occurs in a little less than 1% of the overall population.)

Many of the children diagnosed as a result of these studies did not have obvious symptoms of celiac disease common in children. In fact, some study authors warned that physicians can't use gastrointestinal symptoms as an indicator because so many of the kids in these studies lacked digestive issues.  


Average Age Of Growth Spurts In Boys

The average age at which puberty begins in boys is 11 to 12 years. The end of puberty is not clearly delineated and may vary with the physical, emotional, mental, social and cultural criteria to define an adult boy. However, it usually gets complete at around the age of 17 to 18.

During this period a male child has maximum growth of its height. For the first few years of puberty, boys grow up to 4 inches of height in a year. At the end of puberty height stops growing, because the growth plates of bones get fused. There are several factors that determine height some certainly are genetic, nutritional, exercise and rest. However, muscles continue to develop even after adolescent years.


Growing Pains

If your child wakes up at night complaining of pain, particularly in his legs, chances are he has growing pains. In most kids, growing pains appear in the evening and go away by morning, according to experts at the Mayo Clinic. The pain usually crops up in the calves or behind the knees.

Growing pains can often wake your child up at night, which means he might have trouble sleeping during a growth spurt. There isn't a cure for growing pains, and they are likely to wax and wane during the growing years.


How does a growth spurt affect gait?

How does a growth spurt affect how adolescents walk? Guest writer Dr Maria Cristina Bisi explains that growing teenage boys are less smooth and regular than their non-growing friends, but that the body is remarkably good at compensating to keep them from falling.

Have you ever thought about how many things happen in your body when performing a simple motion in daily living? Even something like walking, wandering around your own house it seems simple, doesn’t it? But you were not able to do it when you were a baby, and it took a long time for your brain to mature, to learn how to exploit senses and actuate muscle, and to program a motion pattern that most people perform daily without even thinking about it.

If you never thought about it, just consider how much effort and expertise and time it took for engineers to produce robots, which can replicate a seemingly functional gait pattern, but are still far from the performance of a human being. From this perspective, the process of motor learning is fascinating, wonderful and intriguing.

Learning to move

Engineers are usually interested in control laws, constraints, power efficiency and all those tech-sounding terms that belong to the domain of automation, of course. But if you add to all this the fact that the ‘robot’ is made of biological tissues, grows and autonomously learns and programs itself, the whole thing becomes even more intriguing, fascinating and astonishing. This is the perspective of a biomedical engineer, trying to sort out how a human being learns how to move from scratch.

Understanding human motor control is certainly not an easy task! Humans are not robots with pre-defined equations and programmed instructions.

Understanding human motor control is certainly not an easy task! Humans are not robots with pre-defined equations and programmed instructions. Thus, we thought that the best way to deepen our knowledge of human motor control was to observe how it builds up during growth. Well, observe it like engineers do, that is, using quantitative measures and mathematical descriptors.

When you accept the challenge to study motor control development, you will learn soon that there is a multitude of influencing factors, often operating in conjunction: these factors can be either within the individual (e.g. neuromotor maturation, growth rate, sensitive learning period) or in the environment (e.g. bonding, stimulation). Thus, given the multitude of influencing factors, the correspondence between factors and effects on motor development and motor control is difficult to investigate.

This is the reason why in this work we investigated the effect of adolescents’ growth spurts on walking performance. During adolescence, walking is theoretically a well-achieved fundamental skill, having reached a mature manifestation on the other hand, adolescence is marked by a period of accelerated increases in both height and weight, referred to as a growth spurt.

What did we do?

It is indeed common to observe low gross motor coordination in this population: a growth spurt can affect the output of motor controller, which was previously organized on different body segment dimensions.

This period was chosen as a controlled and natural environment for partially isolating one of the factors influencing motor development: segment growth.

The aim of the study was to compare gait performance of growing and not growing male adolescents

The aim of the study was to compare gait performance of growing and not growing male adolescents, in order to study which are the modifications that motor control handles when encountering a sudden change in body segment length.

As engineers, we wanted to look at this problem with the rigorous approach of biomechanics and human movement analysis and not just with observational methods: wearable inertial sensors were used to evaluate quantitatively gait performance of the analyzed participants.

What did we find?

The findings of the present work suggest that, as could be expected, a growth spurt during adolescence affects variability, smoothness and regularity of gait, showing growing adolescents as more variable and less smooth and regular than their not growing peers.

Sudden peripheral changes of the body happening in growing adolescents affect movement performance

On the other hand, they show that a growth spurt does not affect gait stability. This means that sudden peripheral changes of the body happening in growing adolescents affect movement performance in the analyzed population, but gait control of young healthy growing subjects is able to handle these modifications, maintaining a level of gait stability close to their not growing peers.

It is relevant to point out that, in the literature, gait variability is often intended as an indirect assessment of stability, hypothesizing that if you are more variable while walking, you could be at a higher risk of falling. These results highlight that this is not always true, in particular in healthy young subjects, because central control can handle variable gait manifestations, as a response to perturbations, in a controlled and stable way, without increasing the risk of falling.


When do kids grow fastest?

Dr Olds said he was not surprised by some of these stories.

He said at a child's peak height velocity — the rate of fastest growth — kids can grow as much as 10 to 16 centimetres in a year.

"They can actually grow half a centimetre in a single night," he said.

"Human growth hormone comes out in pulses, and those pulses come out when you're sleeping.

"Early deep sleep is important if you are sleep deprived, you're likely to be growth deprived as well."

The fastest rate of growth occurs in babyhood, then slows down until a child hits puberty and their peak height velocity.

The start of puberty is considered when girls first start menstruating, while for boys it is the age when their voices break.

Dr Olds said historical data showed puberty occurred when a child grew to about 150 centimetres.

"Evidence suggests there is some critical height and weight that triggers or allows puberty to happen," he said.

"At the beginning of last century, puberty would start around 15 or 16.

"Now we're seeing at 12 or even younger."

Dr Olds said girls would stop growing around 15 or 16 years old, while boys would keep growing until their early 20s.


Physical Changes for the Growing Girl

There’s a lot of changes happening for girls during puberty. Growing ends when puberty and full maturation is complete. Let’s look at some of the transitions.

I’m always asked about how tall a girl will get. Girls will experience their greatest rate of growth generally starting after breasts begin to develop and 6 months before they get their period, according to the AAP.

When does a girl stop growing after her period? Once the period starts, height growth begins to slow down. Your daughter may gain another inch or two after her period begins, but much more than that is uncommon.


Many parents say they can tell their child is about to go through a growth spurt when he or she becomes a little “pudgy.” While no scientific evidence shows that this is true, increases in weight and height do tend to parallel each other. A larger growth spurt is associated with a larger increase in body weight. Additionally, excess fat helps promote growth. This is why children who are overweight or obese also tend to be tall.

Puberty

Another thing to consider when your adolescent child’s weight is fluctuating is puberty. As a child experiences puberty, his or her body fat distribution changes. Girls develop more fatty tissue in the hips, thighs and buttocks.

Because this can happen quickly, it can cause stretch marks in these areas, even in normal-weight kids. One study suggests that stretch marks can occur in as much as 70 percent of girls and 40 percent of boys.

During puberty, boys commonly experience gynecomastia, or the development of fatty breast tissue. This happens in up to 70 percent of boys and usually occurs during mid-puberty. The predominance of estrogen during puberty as compared to testosterone is said to be the cause. However, gynecomastia does tend to disappear within two years and typically does not require treatment.

Changes in Height/Weight

While frequent changes in height and weight can make dressing your child challenging, rest assured that this is a normal part of life. As a parent, your role is to help make your child feel as comfortable as possible, even though they may feel frustrated or self-conscious.

Help your child understand these physical changes and continue to encourage a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and lots of exercise and activity. However, when weight loss or gain is extreme and sudden, talk with your child’s doctor to ensure there is no underlying condition to consider.


Who had a growth spurt after they turned 18? (Men)

I'm an 18 year old male and I'm very short for my age, only 5'2". Did anyone out there have a growth spurt after they turned 18? Does anyone have friends or relatives who had growth spurts when they were 18+?

Also, for those of you who grew post-18 but wouldn't describe it as a 'growth spurt' how much did you increase?

Thanks in advance for any and all replies.

Not what you're looking for? Try&hellip

I'm not yet 18 but when I thought I stopped growing at 16 I had a growth spurt and am now 6'1". My brother also had a growth spurt whilst at uni and is now 6' after being about 5' 10". Hope it all works out for you

(Original post by Anonymous)
Hello there,

I'm an 18 year old male and I'm very short for my age, only 5'2". Did anyone out there have a growth spurt after they turned 18? Does anyone have friends or relatives who had growth spurts when they were 18+?

Also, for those of you who grew post-18 but wouldn't describe it as a 'growth spurt' how much did you increase?

Thanks in advance for any and all replies.

(Original post by Anonymous)
Hello there,

I'm an 18 year old male and I'm very short for my age, only 5'2&quot. Did anyone out there have a growth spurt after they turned 18? Does anyone have friends or relatives who had growth spurts when they were 18+?

Also, for those of you who grew post-18 but wouldn't describe it as a 'growth spurt' how much did you increase?

Thanks in advance for any and all replies.

a couple of my mates had a growth spurt of about 6 inches after they turned 20, they're about 6'1 now. Im approaching 21 and i havent had it i guess to some extent it depends if you have it in the family genes.

(Original post by Anonymous)
Hello there,

I'm an 18 year old male and I'm very short for my age, only 5'2". Did anyone out there have a growth spurt after they turned 18? Does anyone have friends or relatives who had growth spurts when they were 18+?

Also, for those of you who grew post-18 but wouldn't describe it as a 'growth spurt' how much did you increase?

Thanks in advance for any and all replies.

In the same boat. Been thinking of getting some growth hormone even though I should've done that 5 years ago or something. ARGH

Never used to care about my height till like a month ago for some reason. Very confusing times



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