How To Make Your Child Grow Taller
If you notice your child is much shorter than other kids their age, don’t be alarmed. If you’re wondering why your child isn’t growing in height, the first step is to speak with your pediatrician. By staying on top of regular visits, you and your pediatrician can address any potential problems right away.
Your doctor may also recommend tracking regularly at home. If something seems abnormal, you can catch it early, which is important—once a child has finished puberty, growth stops. As a result, a short teenager has little or no time to change their growth pattern. A younger child, however, still has time to correct their growth progression.
This leads to a question that’s often on parents’ minds: how can you make your child grow taller? To answer that question, you have to know which factors influence height. Keep reading to learn what helps your child grow in height and don’t forget to check out our Child Growth Percentile Calculator to start tracking your child’s growth.
Factors That Influence Height: Genes
The most influential factors when it comes to height are family history and genetics. While 20 percent is affected by environmental factors, including what your child eats, scientists and health professionals believe that genetics account for 80 percent of a child’s height. What’s more, there are 700 gene variants known to affect the height of your child, as reported by NPR. Most of these have a small effect on height—causing a millimeter or less of growth.
As a result of this connection, your pediatrician may ask about your height as an adult and child, which can indicate any potential genetic reasons for why your child is not growing in height at the average rate.
Factors That Influence Height: Nutrition/Diet
Nutrition plays a pivotal role in maintaining and improving height, says Mitchell E. Geffner, M.D. He explains: “The proper balance of major macronutrients (e.g., protein, carbohydrate, fat, calcium, and magnesium) and micronutrients (e.g., vitamin A and iodine) is critical for normal growth.”
To maintain this balance, keep the 2015-2020 dietary guidelines in mind, which recommend a dietary pattern that includes:
- A variety of fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Fat-free and low-fat dairy products
- A variety of protein foods
- Less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
- Less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
- Less than 2,300 mg per day of sodium
Smoothies are an easy way to ensure your child eats a well-rounded diet, with plenty of healthy fats, fruit, vegetables and protein. Start with a high-quality source of protein, like Healthy Height Shake Mix, winner of the Best Children’s Drink in the annual World Beverage Innovation Awards.
Add vegetables, like kale, spinach or sweet potato, along with your child’s fruit of choice. Add healthy fat, like avocado, yogurt or coconut, blend and serve. Smoothies are easy to make, easy to clean up and can be taken on the go, making them a great option for busy families.
Want more healthy smoothie tips and ideas? Check out some of our favorite resources below:
- 8 Immune Boosting Smoothie Recipes for Kids
- 10 Easy (And Kid-Friendly) Smoothie Recipes for Busy Parents
- Secrets to Create the Best Protein Shakes for Kids
Plus, check out all of our recipes, packed with all the protein and nutrients your child needs to grow.
Factors That Influence Height: Health Conditions
There are a wide range of health conditions that could cause your child to grow at a slower rate than his or her peers. According to Children’s National Health System, those conditions include:
- Constitutional growth delay, most commonly referred to when a child is a “late bloomer”
- Systemic diseases, such as digestive disorders, kidney disease, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes
- Severe and consistent stress
- Hormone (endocrine) diseases, such as growth hormone deficiency
Your child may be diagnosed with Failure to Thrive (FTT). FTT is caused by a cluster of symptoms, both organic and non-organic, including those described above. Learn more about FTT and how your child may be affected in 10 Common Causes of Failure to Thrive.
How to Promote Healthy Height & Weight
Your child’s growth will fluctuate in his or her first few years of life. Head to CHOC Children’s Child Development Ages and Stages resource to find the average growth for your child’s age and gender.
While most of these changes are predetermined by genes, there are a number of things that you can do as a parent to ensure that you’re providing a lifestyle and environment that fosters growth. Below are some tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle and support your child’s growth.
Get Enough Sleep
In order to grow properly and reach maximum potential growth, your child must get an adequate amount of sleep. Experts at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh explain, “In order for a child to grow, a gland deep inside the brain, called the pituitary, must release enough growth hormone (GH). Natural growth hormone is released during deep sleep.”
Ensure your child is sleeping enough by following the daily guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
- 1 to 2 years: 1 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
- 3 to 5 years, 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
- 6 to 12, 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours
If your child is struggling to sleep, give Healthy Height Shake Mix a try. In a clinical study, Healthy Height nutrition was found to help kids sleep better. Find fun ways to incorporate it into your child’s diet with our recipes.
Consume Enough Protein
Your child needs to eat a well-rounded diet to grow, and an important part of that diet is protein. If your child already eats meat or fish, and enjoys dairy products, along with nuts, and other high-protein foods, they’re likely getting what they need to grow. Don’t forget, many vegetables are high in protein too, adding to their total daily intake.
If you need a refresher, your child’s protein requirements are nearly the same as yours: 10 to 30 percent of daily calorie intake. This breaks down as such:
- Ages 4 to 9: 19 grams of protein each day
- Ages 9 and 13 need 34 grams
If your child is a picky eater, however, you may need to place more focus on his or her protein intake, according to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers found that picky eaters consume less protein, along with fewer fats and total energy (calories) than their non-picky counterparts.
To keep your child on track, focus on serving sizes of high-protein foods, like yogurt. For example, 6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt has 17 grams of protein. The nutrition label makes it easy to uncover this information without doing math or guessing, so use those as your guide.
Be sure to check out our guide, 10 Ways to Make Sure Your Picky Eater Gets Nutrients, to find ideas for how to get more protein and nutrients in your child’s diet.
Maintain Regular Check Ups
Take your child in for regular check ups with their pediatrician, allowing the doctor to track your child’s growth patterns and detect any irregularities. If irregularities are detected, your pediatrician will know, based on your history and that of your child, whether further tests are needed to get back on track or address underlying issues.
Use Healthy Height Shake Mix
Healthy Height Shake Mix was developed and tested by pediatricians. In a 6-month trial, Healthy Height’s nutrition was clinically proven to improve height, where researchers saw improvements in both height and weight, but no increase in body mass index (BMI). This shows that growth was proportional, not obesogenic.
Healthy Height is also free of gluten, soy, corn syrup, and growth hormones. With no artificial ingredients and 12 grams of protein per serving, you can be sure your child is getting the nutrition they need to thrive.
The best part is you can use Healthy Height Shake Mix to boost the nutrient value of many foods, from yogurt and waffles to muffins and even ice cream. Check out these 10 Protein Powder Recipes to get more ideas for how you can integrate Healthy Height Shake Mix into your child’s diet.
Why is Your Child Not Growing in Height?
There isn’t a clear answer to this question, with so many factors to consider. While much of your child’s height is determined by genetics, there are many steps you can take to ensure he or she is living a healthy lifestyle, from maintaining proper nutrient intake to getting enough sleep. Don’t forget to see your pediatrician regularly. This ensures that any potential issues are found as early as possible, allowing your child to grow and thrive.