Diseases that adversely affect height growth

Health has a great influence on human physical development. For children, having good health will create a favourable condition for their height growth. On the contrary, suffering from certain diseases adversely affected their height growth.


Obesity in children is quite common in today's modern society. Obese children often have dietary intake exceeding their demands, sedentary lifestyles and little exercise. If children suffer from obesity, their height will not grow properly for many different reasons. Obese children tend to eat a lot of food with high-protein and high-fat, fast food and sugary food. Eating lots of these foods will interfere with their calcium absorption causing calcium insufficiency for bone growth and height growth.

Obese children often have sedentary lifestyles and little exercise.

Obese children often have sedentary lifestyles and little exercise.

Here is some advice for parents to maintain a healthy diet for their children

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables each day
  • Follow a frequent exercising routine
  • Play sports
  • Keep track of children’s weight and height

By doing so, parents can ensure a balanced and healthy diet for their children and have immediate intervention in case of obesity or any other health-related matters.

Diarrhea and digestive disorders

Diarrhea, digestive disorders and helminths are diseases that affect children's height growth. According to a survey conducted on 119 children, in the first two years of life, children who suffer from seven episodes of diarrhea will be 3.6 cm shorter than their healthy peers when they reach the age of 7. Similarly, children who suffer from intestinal helminths will be 4.6 cm shorter than their healthy peers. If children suffer from these two diseases at the same time, the severity will be higher.

When children suffer from intestinal infections, they are at risk of excessively losing protein into the gastrointestinal tract, which affects the absorption of nutrients from foods. Moreover, most of the energy will be mobilized to fight diseases. As a result, there are not enough nutrients for the growth in general and the height growth in particular.

Congenital heart disease

Congenital heart disease is a malformation and a defect of the structure of the heart that is present at birth. When children suffer from congenital heart disease, their hearts will not perform well and easily become weakened, which causes bad effects on their health such as impairment in mental and physical strength, decreased life expectancy, high risk of death, etc. Children with heart disease do not have the ability to be physically active as normal children.

Children with congenital heart disease often suffer from stunted growth.

Children with congenital heart disease often suffer from stunted growth.

Poor mobility, poor eating and weak body resistance are the reasons why children with heart disease have short stature because these are important determinants of height growth. If children with heart disease are not treated properly and positively, they will suffer from stunted growth.

Congenital heart disease in children can be completely prevented if parents comply with guidelines such as pre-marriage health checks, maintaining good health during pregnancy and vaccination before pregnancy.

Turner syndrome

Turner syndrome is a genetic disorder that only occurs in females as the result of a missing or partially missing of the X chromosome. About 1 in 4,000 newborn girls suffers from this syndrome. Newborn girls with Tuner syndrome will suffer from stunted growth, short necks with extra folds of skin on the necks, large breasts and have short stature.

If children with Tuner syndrome are treated with human growth hormone in the early years of puberty, their height can increase by a few centimeters and they can start to have periods.

Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD)

Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD) is a medical condition that arises when the pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, fails to produce an adequate amount of growth hormone. Growth hormone is a vital player in the intricate process of growth and development, especially during childhood and adolescence. When this hormone is in short supply, it can have a profound impact on a child's physical growth.

Children diagnosed with GHD often exhibit slower growth rates compared to their peers. They may appear shorter in stature, and this difference in height can become noticeable as they grow older. The condition may manifest in various ways, with some children experiencing a gradual decline in growth over time, while others may have a more sudden and noticeable decrease in their growth rate.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease, a chronic autoimmune disorder, deserves special attention due to its potential to significantly impact a child's growth and overall health. This condition is triggered by the consumption of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and it can have wide-ranging effects throughout the body.

One of the most concerning consequences of celiac disease is the damage it inflicts on the intestinal lining. The immune system mistakenly attacks the small intestine in response to gluten ingestion, causing inflammation and harm to the delicate structures responsible for absorbing nutrients from food. This damage disrupts the normal absorption of essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, vitamin D, and B vitamins.


Malnutrition is a condition stemming from inadequate calorie or nutrient intake. It's a multifaceted issue that can manifest in various forms, including protein-energy malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. In severe cases, malnutrition can lead to significant growth retardation, stunting a child's physical and cognitive development.

One of the primary consequences of malnutrition is the body's inability to acquire the essential nutrients it needs for growth. When children do not receive enough calories or lack a balanced diet, their bodies may enter a state of energy conservation, prioritizing the most critical functions over growth. This means that their growth process may slow down or even come to a halt.

Protein-energy malnutrition, characterized by insufficient intake of protein and calories, can lead to a condition known as stunting. Stunting is a form of chronic malnutrition where a child's height falls below the expected range for their age. Stunted growth not only affects a child's physical stature but can also have long-lasting effects on cognitive development and immune function.


There are several diseases and medical conditions that can have a profound impact on a child's height growth. These conditions, ranging from hormonal deficiencies to genetic disorders and chronic illnesses, can interfere with the intricate processes of growth and development. However, it's important to emphasize that timely diagnosis and appropriate medical management can often help mitigate the effects of these conditions on a child's stature. The key to addressing height growth issues associated with these diseases lies in early intervention, proper treatment, and ongoing medical care.


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