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Health Information For Parents
As kids grow from grade-schoolers to preteens, there continues to be a wide range of “normal” regarding height, weight, and shape.
Kids tend to get taller at a pretty steady pace, growing about 2.5 inches (6 to 7 centimeters) each year. When it comes to weight, kids gain about 4–7 lbs. (2–3 kg) per year until puberty starts.
This is also a time when kids start to have feelings about how they look and how they’re growing. Some girls may worry about being “too big,” especially those who are developing early. Boys tend to be sensitive about being too short.
Try to help your child understand that the important thing is not to “look” a certain way, but rather to be healthy. Kids can’t change the genes that will determine how tall they will be or when puberty starts. But they can make the most of their potential by developing healthy eating habits and being physically active.
Your doctor will take measurements at regular checkups, then plot your child’s results on a standard growth chart to follow over time and compare with other kids the same age and gender.
Normal growth — supported by good nutrition, enough sleep, and regular exercise — is one of the best overall indicators of a child’s good health.
Your child’s growth pattern is largely determined by genetics. Pushing kids to eat extra food or get higher amounts of vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients will not increase their height and may lead to weight problems.
Accepting kids as they are helps them build self-acceptance.
Puberty — or sexual development — is a time of dramatic change for both boys and girls. The age at which the physical changes of puberty normally begin varies widely.
For both sexes, these hormone-driven changes are accompanied by growth spurts that transform children into physically mature teens as their bodies develop.
Breast development, usually the first noticeable sign of puberty in girls, may begin anytime between ages 8 and 13. Events in girls as they go through puberty:
Once girls get their periods, they usually grow about 1 or 2 more inches (2.5 to 5 centimeters), reaching their final adult height by about age 14 or 15 years (younger or older depending on when puberty began).
Most boys show the first physical changes of puberty between ages 10 and 16, and tend to grow most quickly between ages 12 and 15. The growth spurt of boys is, on average, about 2 years later than that of girls. By age 16, most boys have stopped growing, but their muscles will continue to develop.
Other features of puberty in boys include:
Despite data collected for growth charts, “normal” heights and weights are difficult to define. Shorter parents, for instance, tend to have shorter kids, whereas taller parents tend to have taller kids.
You may worry if your child isn’t as tall as other kids that age. But the more important question is whether your child is continuing to grow at a normal rate. If your doctor finds a problem — such as a growth rate that had been normal but has recently slowed — he or she may track growth carefully over several months to see if the pattern suggests a possible health problem or is just a variation of normal.
If it’s found that your child is growing or developing too slowly, the doctor may order tests to check for medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, growth hormone deficiency, or other things that can affect growth.
If you have any concerns about your child’s growth or development, talk with your doctor.
Big physical and emotional changes happen during puberty and the teen years. These articles can help you become a source of information, comfort, and support for your kids.
When you’re growing up, lots of changes happen and everyone wonders: Am I normal?
On the way to becoming a man, a boy’s body will go through a lot of changes, including your body growing bigger, your voice changing, and hair sprouting everywhere. Find out more.
How do you like your height? Check out this article if you feel too tall or too short.
Puberty was awkward enough when you were the one going through it. So how can you help your kids through all the changes?
“What’s the right weight for my child?” is one of the most common questions parents have. It seems like a simple one, but it’s not always easy to answer.
You need self-esteem, but it doesn’t always come naturally. Find out what it means to feel good about yourself.
Voice cracking? Clothes don’t fit? Puberty can be a confusing time, but learning about it doesn’t have to be. Read all about it in this article for kids.
Understanding the male reproductive system and what it does can help you better understand your son’s reproductive health.
From the moment parents greet their newborn, they watch the baby’s progress eagerly. But how can they tell if their child is growing properly?
Learning about the female reproductive system, what it does, and the problems that can affect it can help you better understand your daughter’s reproductive health.
Girls grow breasts as they develop and mature. And once a girl has breasts, she probably will want to wear a bra. Find out more in this article just for kids.
Precocious puberty – when signs of puberty start before age 7 or 8 in girls and age 9 for boys – can be tough for kids. But it can be treated.
Talking to kids about puberty is an important job for parents, especially because kids often hear about sex and relationships from unreliable sources. Here are some tips.
Girls have lots of questions about periods. Here are five good ones – and the all-important answers!
Girls have lots of questions about puberty and growing up. Find all the answers here!
Where’s your Adam’s apple? Do you even have one? Find out in this article for kids.
Both boys and girls experience voice changes as they grow older, but it’s the boys that will notice the biggest difference. Find out more in this article for kids.
Find out what this doctor’s visit will involve and what your child might be doing by the sixth year.
Find out what this doctor’s visit will involve and what your child might be doing by the seventh year.
Find out what this doctor’s visit will involve and what your child might be doing by the eighth year.
Find out what this doctor’s visit will involve and what your child might be doing by the ninth year.
Find out what this doctor’s visit will involve and what your child might be doing by age 10.
Find out what this doctor’s visit will involve when your child is 11.
Find out what this doctor’s visit will involve when your child is 12.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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