A growth disorder means that your child is not growing normally. A growth delay means that your child is growing more slowly than normal.
Growth patterns are different from child to child. For example, baby boys grow faster than girls grow until about 7 months of age. After that, girls grow faster until about age 4. After that, boys and girls grow at the same rate until puberty. The average growth rate is 2 to 3 inches (5 to 6 centimeters) a year.
Your child's height depends a great deal on your family history. Tall parents usually have tall children. Small parents, as a rule, have small children. A short child who has short parents may not have a growth problem.
Nutrition, genetics, hormones, and chronic (long-term) diseases can all affect growth. If your child's growth seems to be slow, the cause may be a natural growth delay or a growth disorder.
There are several possible causes for growth problems.
Signs of a growth delay or disorder may include:
Regular tracking of your child's height and weight is used to check growth rate. Your healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms, medical history, and family history, and examine your child. Tests may include:
Your healthcare provider may watch your child's behavior to see if your child is reaching milestones expected for age.
Treatment for growth delay depends on the cause. For example, malnourished children may need high-calorie supplements. Hormone shots or pills may help a lack of hormones.
Children often compare themselves to their friends. This can cause stress and affect your child’s self-esteem.