“I am a unique expression of the universal fabric of creation.” – Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Human beings are God’s finest creation. God created them with perfection and sent them on earth to interact with one another for the purpose of their survival. He also created diversity among His beings so that the world can become a better place for them, a platform where they can produce different ideas and come up with different innovations in order to serve mankind.
Taking this very concept, let us take a look at a person’s life. Every human being passes through the same life cycle, which proceeds from infancy to old age. Ironic as it may sound, although moving through the same stages, every person goes through different developmental phases that help them grow. Hence, children grow in different manners according to the conditions provided to them for their growth. A group of same aged children can be seen to have a lot of diversity in terms of their height, weight, habits, behavior, etc.
Child Growth and Development
What makes them grow differently?
The question can have multiple answers. There are numerous factors that affect the growth of a child including:
- Genetics and environment
- Health problems
These are just a few of the factors that influence child growth. Although important, not all these factors affect the growth of a child with the same intensity. Some of the children may encounter health problems as a huge hindrance in their growth, while others may feel their nutrition as the force with the most influence on their development.
Genetics and Environment
The growth and development of child largely depend on their genetics and the environment they live in. The two elements are different in nature yet interlinked with one another.
Our genes consist of instructions. In biological terms, when the sperm and ova, each containing 23 chromosomes, fuse together, a new organism comes into being. The new life produced as a result of the fusion consists 46 chromosomes that contain genes. These genes provide a genetic code for the growth of the newborn.
When passed on from parents to offspring, these instructions form the traits of the newborn. It is not quite surprising for a short-height mother to have a short-height son. These instructions, however, may not be expressed the way they are due to the environmental conditions the child is exposed to. A dark-complexion child’s gene may contain codes for fairness, but due to their excessive exposure to heat, they may have turned dark.
Gender is yet another factor that plays a role in child growth and development. Apart from having biological differences, girls and boys possess different characteristics, traits, and modes of growth. The basic differences one may observe among them in terms of traits include:
- Male: Active, aggressive, ambitious, competitive, dominant, independent, self-confident
- Female: Considerate, devoted, emotional, gentle, kind, home-oriented, passive
Apart from these differences, some typical differences in the nature of their growth include the fact that girls start speaking words at an early age as compared to boys, who are more prone to color blindness than females. The reason for the difference lies in the manner their systems are designed.
Children with poor nutrition suffer the most. The physical growth of child depends largely on the diet they follow as the human body requires specific nutrients to thrive and grow. The body needs to have the exact amount of nutrients it requires that could help it in its development. Overeating affects the body as negatively as under-nutrition does, so it is highly important to have a balanced diet.
A study that was published in the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ surveyed children suffering from under-nutrition in their first year of their life. The study concluded these children to be smaller compared to the rest of the healthy children. The ‘Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ also suggest that the children who are habitual of overeating suffer from issues such as obesity.
Children suffering from health problems also fall victim to delayed growth. Growth in child is a signal of healthy living. If a child stays unwell, it signifies him being prey to a disease or illness, which needs to be cured at the earliest to ensure growth.
There are many health issues in children, some of which are curable while the others are not. There are medical problems in children that are present since birth. These are normally a result of a genetic malfunction in the parent, resulting in the child being disabled. There are other health problems as well that attach themselves to children as they grow.
There are many children whose arms and legs are not in proportion to the torso. These children suffer from an illness called ‘dwarfism’. Some children may also suffer from low levels of thyroxine in their bodies, which cause loss of energy, dry skin, constipation, dry hair, and trouble staying warm. Such health problems hinder in the growth and development of a child.
No wonder doctors have always been emphasizing on choosing a healthy lifestyle for oneself. A good lifestyle that incorporates healthy and beneficial habits will always make a person grow well, while a poor lifestyle will become an obstacle in one’s development.
Exercising daily in the morning makes children fit and improves their body systems, giving them loads of energy for the whole day. Having a balanced diet allows children to improve their metabolism.
Child Growth and Development Chart
As discussed in the beginning, each child grows in a different manner with different factors affecting their growth. Then what does a growth chart depict? A child growth chart shows the standard growth of an ideal individual at different ages.
It is obvious and natural for children to deviate from the standard points provided on the chart. A little bit of deviation is considered normal, but if the difference is significant, immediate help should be sought from doctors and pediatricians.
Children grow and develop at a different pace with respect to the conditions provided to them. However, it is important to measure their growth timely to ensure it is according to the set standards in order to ensure their growth.