In this article, we'll delve into five valuable tips that parents should seriously consider if they hope to help their children not only reach but potentially even exceed their genetically predetermined height. Understanding and applying these tips can play a pivotal role in nurturing a child's growth and development. So, let's explore these factors that go beyond genetics and have a significant impact on a child's height potential.
Fetal nutrition affects later height
During the fetal stage, the height of the fetus on average will increase by 5-6 cm per month . This rate will decrease gradually after birth. Therefore, the fetal stage is vitally important to the child’s height development later on.
For optimal height growth of the fetus after birth, the mother needs to absorb adequate nutrition by consuming a variety of foods from four nutrient groups - carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.
Carbohydrates: As a major macronutrient, carbohydrates are one of the body’s primary sources of energy. You may have heard some people advise against eating carbohydrates, but the key is to find the right carbs instead of completely avoiding them. Compared with simple carbs, complex carbs are packed in more nutrients, especially fiber. Some foods rich in carbohydrates are rice, noodles, potatoes, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, etc.
Protein: It is no secret that protein is indispensable to our daily meals. During pregnancy, this nutrient helps with uterine and breast tissue growth for moms. Protein is also highly beneficial for fetuses in that it ensures the healthy growth of organs and tissues. It allows more blood sent to the baby, thus increasing blood supply. Trusted sources suggest an increase in protein intake during pregnancy. It is time to ramp up those meat, fish, shrimps, crabs, beans, and eggs!
Fat: Fat is as essential a nutrient as protein or carbohydrates. Although it usually gets a bad reputation when it comes to diet, not all fat is the same. Some fats promote good health and development for the baby. Fat is even required for certain bodily functions; for instance, some vitamins need fat to provide nutrients and dissolve into your bloodstream. Polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat are considered healthy fats and should be included in your diet during pregnancy. A tip to identify these healthier fats is that when at room temperature, they tend to be in liquid form . You can find plenty of healthy fats in sesame oil, olive oil, butter, nuts, and cheese.
Vitamins and minerals: The body requires these micronutrients to perform different normal functions. Despite this, vitamins and minerals must be derived from the foods we eat as they are not produced in our bodies. Vegetables, fruits, and fruit juice are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals to complement your diet for proper fetal nutrition.
Living environment and food safety
Living in an unclean environment and eating contaminated foods can easily lead to digestive disorders in children and cause some diseases such as diarrhea, dyspepsia, and indigestion. According to a survey conducted on 119 children, in the first two years of life, children who suffer seven episodes of diarrhea will be 3.6 cm shorter than their healthy peers when they reach the age of 7 .
Moreover, these diseases also result in malabsorption syndrome. Malabsorption syndrome makes children more susceptible to deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed for physical development. As a consequence, children are likely to grow up shorter than their counterparts brought up in healthy living conditions.
Exercise plays a crucial role in height growth
Regular exercise promotes overall health and regulates activities of the endocrine system including the pituitary gland and thyroid gland. Thanks to this, the endocrine gland secretes more growth hormone (GH) to take full advantage of genetic potential while stimulating the growth of new bone cells and increasing the length of bones.
For this reason, parents should encourage their children to frequently exercise or play sports such as swimming, basketball, cycling, pull-ups, etc. These exercises and sports help stretch the spine and stimulate the body to release growth hormone, thereby boosting their height gain more effectively.
Don’t blame genetics!
Even though genetics accounts for a large part of human height growth, it does not necessarily mean that your genes get to determine everything. You would be surprised to find that there are short parents with impressively tall children.
Indeed, reports have shown many cases of modest-height parents having babies who weigh from 2,800 grams up to 3,500 grams. That is an ideal weight for newborns. Babies with such birth weights will at least have a standard average height .
Hence, parents with short stature can rest assured that their kids still stand a chance of obtaining outstanding height in the future. By taking good care of their children in terms of nutrition, exercise, sleep, and living environment, parents will foster favorable conditions for not only height growth but also overall body development.
Supplementation of essential nutrients for bone growth
Notwithstanding its major contribution to children’s height growth, the supplementation of bone-nourishing nutrients is often overlooked by parents. These nutrients include vitamin D, magnesium, collagen, especially calcium. Calcium accounts for 1.5-2% of body weight and is an integral component of bone formation.
Calcium supplementation is an effective way to accelerate bone growth for children's height, which allows them to reach maximal height potential. Calcium deficiency, on the other hand, will lead to rickets, slow growth, poor quality teeth, and increased risks of osteoporosis as well as other bone deteriorating diseases as they age. Yet, the use of calcium supplementation should not be speculative but strictly follow the recommended intake based on different age groups. To ensure your kids consume adequate amounts of each nutrient, taking height growth supplements can be a smart choice.
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