Food and Nutrition

5 Growth Hacks: Help your child catch up!

Dr Shipra Mathur
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5 Growth Hacks Help your child catch up

As parents, we always try to do our best to provide for our children. We want to see them enjoy an active healthy life and grow to their full potential. To do so, we must be aware of what is “normal growth” and what should be done in certain situations, such as when the child falls sick or when the child is going through a phase of food tantrums…
 

First things first: It is important to keep a track of your child’s growth – weight and height. We know that 3-9 years of age is a period of fast growth and optimal progress in these years would ensure a good growth outcome. This is best done by having your child’s weight and height measured every 6 months and plotted on a growth chart, which you should have reviewed by your paediatrician on regular intervals. This will help to detect if the growth is moving in the right direction or not.

If your child is found to be under weight or lagging behind height, we need to find a reason for it and address the problem in time.  The most common finding is the failure to gain weight appropriately. The reasons for not gaining weight may be manifold – the most common one being nutritional.
 

When your child becomes fussy about food…

During infancy, it is easy to feed a child as it is primarily parent-led feeding, but as the child get older, s/he tends to develop his/ her own food preferences and tends to become fussy over food.  At such times, the nutritional value of what they finally end up eating may drop to levels that start to affect their growth. Therefore, it is important to encourage a healthy balanced food habit at all times – and from early on. Parents should do so by setting an example by eating healthy themselves and also make meal times sacrosanct – eating together as a family should be made non-negotiable and there should be no distractions such as television or mobiles.

 

When your child becomes falls sick…

During and after a period of illness, it is natural for your child to lose appetite. Gastrointestinal and even minor viral illnesses can affect the appetite considerably and may cause a significant weight drop in young children. At this time, the emphasis should be on providing foods that are packed with calories and protein. Studies have shown that increasing the protein content during the recovery phase of most illnesses leads to faster catch up growth. During this time, the child may need an extra meal every day for upto two weeks after the illness to make up for lost ground. Having said so, there is no reason to panic, as they will invariably bounce back once normal eating resumes.

 

When the diet is changed…

There may be times when changing the diet is difficult or it is taking time to implement (we all know that dietary improvements are easier said than done!). The child may need to be assessed and treated with supplements like iron, zinc or vitamin D for a short period of time until natural foods can take over.

Also, at times you may find that despite having managed a balanced and adequate food intake for your child, there is little improvement. It would be worthwhile discussing it with your paediatrician to rule out other causes like hormone deficiencies and problems with absorbing the food etc.

 

To sum up, here are the hacks to help your child catch up on growth…

 

•             Be aware of normal growth pattern and recognise any falling behind early on

 

•             Ensure a balanced nutritious diet for you and your family

 

•             Expect a temporary stasis during an illness; provide extra proteins and calories to catch up

 

•             Check with your doctor regarding need for any supplements and to rule out any other treatable cause of growth delay


Disclaimer: The views, opinions and recommendations expressed in this article are solely those of the author 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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Aman

| Oct 03, 2017

is blog ke liye dhanyawaad. kya aap mujhe 5 saal ke ladke ke kya weight aur height hona chaihe bata skatey hai?mera beta shuru se hi kuch nahi khata. koi upaye bataye.

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Shailja

| Oct 03, 2017

hello Dr. Mathur! my daughter shelly is 9 years old. we were maintaining her health records till she was 5 years old. now due to house shifting we have lost all records and haven't been able to maintain new as well. is it a cause of concern?thanks!

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Reena

| Oct 03, 2017

Thank u Dr. Shipra Mathur for sharing this useful and informative blog.

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puloma pandey

| Oct 03, 2017

Thanks Dr. Mathur for the detailed information. It is really hard to maintain the weight according to age , i try my best to give her evry possible nutrition but then also lagging behing. My 3 yr baby is just 12. 5 kg though she is super active and had no health issue but as a mother its a matter of worry to me.

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Shikha Batra

| Oct 03, 2017

very useful and informative blog. thanks for sharing Dr. Mathur.. Doctor i have a query. please guide me. if my husband and I are around 5 feet and 3 inches tall and our parents are even shorter in height , what are the chances our offsprings would grow taller ? how can i ensure my girls grow taller than me .

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