3 Red Alerts: Be more cautious about your child’s growth if...
Created by Dr Himani Narula Khanna Updated on Oct 20, 2020
We also know that growth needs to be monitored closely – so that, as parents, you are rest assured that you are doing your job well – isn’t it? Well, recently I see an increasing number of parents who walk in for a general consultation with their child who is just a mark away from the benchmarks stated on the growth charts; this would not be the case a decade back – and so I can sense a growing anxiety in parents nowadays.
Growing anxiety amongst parents with regard to child’s growth is not all that bad - Here’s why…
In a way it is good that parents are more aware – and the causes for delayed growth are now being identified early. After all, the sooner an ailment is identified, the more chances of it being cured.
Also, growth is an important indicator that helps to uncover a chronic illness at times. For instance, if your child is not growing as per the growth charts, and you visit a doctor to run a general check – and it is found out that the underlying cause is indeed an illness, then an early diagnosis is helpful to treat the cause more effectively.
In fact, the age group of 3 years to 9 years is the time when your child attends preschool and is introduced to regular school, wherein the child not just grows physically (height and weight) but also develops emotionally, cognitively and start acquiring expressive and receptive language skills. A symptom of delayed growth also points towards interpersonal and psychological stress, which when identified can get timely treatment.
It is good to know the general growth benchmarks… On an average, a 2 kg increase in weight and 7 to 8 cm increase in height per year is expected in this age group (3-9 years). The head will grow an additional only 5 to 6 cm during this age group. However, one must remember that every child’s growth pattern differs – and not all children of the same age are going to match up in terms of height and weight! Let me explain: We all know growth is a consequence of good nutrition, good sleep, good exercise and good environment. But even if all these contributing factors are meted out in equal measure to let’s say 10 children, each of the 10 children will still vary in height and weight! This is because genetics play a key role. So, never miss on the familial and hereditary factors while you evaluate your child’s growth. For instance: Maternal and paternal height are very important predictors while predicting the expected height of the child.
And this is when you need to see a doctor immediately… There are times, when no matter what factors are at play, you need to see the doctor immediately. This is the time when your child’s growth needs serious attention – so keep a look out for these “red alerts” for a child in the age group of 3 to 9 years. Please refer to the standard growth charts to check the exact difference in percentiles…
1. Weight < 5th percentile (indicates acute malnutrition / underlying illness)
2. Height < 5th percentile (indicates acute malnutrition / underlying illness)
3. Upper body and lower body ratio: If the ratio is on the high side, it indicates that your child is safe from dwarfism, bone disorders like rickets (a doctor can evaluate this for you).
In addition to above, delayed tooth eruption is also an indirect marker of hypothyroidism or hypoparathyroidism, which leads to growth issues. So if you notice these, then do not delay a doctor’s consultation. Early diagnosis and early intervention is the key to assist a child to reach his/her optimal growth.
Disclaimer: The views, opinions and recommendations expressed in this article are solely those of the author who is a certified medical practioner, and intended as an educational aid. This is an awareness drive powered by Horlick’s Growth Plus to help your child catch up on lost growth. Horlick’s Growth plus is clinically proven to show visible signs of growth in six months. You are encouraged to obtain professional advice concerning specific health / medical matters.
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