Influences On Normal Physical

Influences On Normal Physical Physical growth in early childhood is partially easy to measure and gives an idea of how children normally develop during this period. The average child in North America is less than three feet tall at two years of age. Physical growth contains no discrete stages, plateaus, or qualitative changes. Large differences may develop between individual children and among groups of children. Sometimes these differences affect the psychological development of young children.

These differences create a nice variety among children. Most dimensions of growth are influenced by the child’s genetic background. Also, races and ethnic backgrounds around the world differ in growth patterns. Nutrition can affect growth, but it does not override genetic factors. One factor in the cause of slow growth is malnutrition.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

Malnutrition can start as early as pregnancy. Low birth weight babies have an increased risk of infection and death during the first few weeks of life. Food-deprived children carry a greater risk of neurological deficiencies that result in poor vision, impaired educational attainment, and cerebral problems. Such children are also more prone to diseases such as malaria, respiratory tract infections or pneumonia. The illnesses of malnourished children can cause more lasting damage than in a healthy child. The destructive conjunction between low food intake and disease is magnified at the level of the hungry child.

There is evidence, according to The Journal of Nutrition, that an estimated 50 percent of disease-related mortality among infants could be avoided if infant malnutrition were eradicated. It has also been shown that low birth- weight is associated with increased prevalence of diseases such as stroke, heart disease and diabetes in adult life. Most damage during the first few years of life cannot easily be undone. There are many reasons why some children never reach normal height. Some causes of short stature are well understood and can be corrected, but most are subjects of ongoing research.

Achondroplasia is the most common growth defect in which abnormal body proportions are present. Achondroplasia is a genetic disorder of bone growth. It affects about one in every 26,000 births. It occurs in all races and in both sexes. It is one of the oldest recorded birth defects found as far back as Egyptian art.

A child with achondroplasia has a relatively normal torso but short arms and legs. People sometimes think the child is mentally retarded because they are slow to sit, stand, and walk alone. In most cases, however, a child with achondroplasia has normal intelligence. Children with achondroplasia occasionally die suddenly in infancy or early childhood. These deaths usually occur during sleep and are thought to result from compression of the upper end of the spinal cord, which can interfere with breathing. This disease is caused by an abnormal gene.

The discovery of the gene allowed the development of highly accurate prenatal tests that can diagnose or rule out achondroplasia. There is currently no way to normalize skeletal development of children with achondroplasia, so there is no cure. Growth hormone treatments, which increase height in some forms of short stature, do not substantially increase the height of children with achondroplasia. There is no way to prevent the majority of cases of achondroplasia, since these births result from totally unexpected gene mutations in unaffected parents. One treatment available for children is known as growth hormone therapy.

The policy governing the use of growth hormone (GH) therapy has shifted from treating only those children with classic growth hormone deficiency to treating short children to improve their psycho social functioning. This has caused quite a controversy. Parents have described shorter boys as less socially competent and having more behavioral problems than that of the normal sample. Shorter boys describe themselves as less socially active but not having more behavioral problems than that of the normal group. This is according to a study conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and the State University of New York at Buffalo.

The researchers conclude growth hormone therapy should not be administered routinely to all short children for the purpose of improving their psychological health. They urge that physicians consider both a child’s short stature and psycho social functioning before making a referral for growth hormone therapy. Another factor in the growth of children is their change of appetite. Young preschoolers may eat less than they did as a toddler. This is also when they will become more selective and choosy with the foods they eat. These changes are normal and result from the slowing down of growth after infancy.

Preschool children simply do not need as many calories as they did after birth. Children’s food preferences are influenced by the adult models around them. Preschoolers tend to like the same foods as their parents and other important adults in their lives. Variations in growth can result from cultural and psychological factors. Failure to thrive is defined in the class textbook as a condition in which an infant seems seriously delayed in physical growth and is noticeably apathetic in behavior. This condition may result from situations that interfere with normal positive relationships between parent and child, especially during infancy or the early preschool period.

The result is a deprived relationship that may lead the child to eat poorly or be plagued by constant anxiety. The nervousness can interfere with sleep or the production of growth hormones. If failure to thrive has not persisted for too long, it usually can be reversed in the short run through special nutritional and medical intervention to help the child regain strength and begin growing normally again. There are many factors that can result in slow growth in children. Between the ages of two and five, growth slows down and children take on more adult bodily proportions. Usually growth is rather smooth during the preschool period.

Genetic and ethnic backgrounds affect its overall rate, as do the quality of nutrition and children’s experiences with illness. Children’s appetites are often smaller in the preschool years than in infancy, and preschoolers become more selective about their food preferences. If children fall behind in growth because of poor nutrition or hormonal deficiencies, they often can achieve catch-up growth if slow growth has not been too severe or prolonged. A few children suffer from failure to thrive, a condition marked by reduced physical growth, possibly as a result of family stress and conflict. Bibliography Achondroplasia.

Public Health Education Information Sheet. Http://www.noah.cuny.edu/pregnancy/march of dimes/birth de fects/achondro.html. Byers, T. 1995. The Emergence of Chronic Diseases in Developing Countries. SCN News 13: 14-19; Golden, M. H.

N. 1995. Specific deficiencies versus growth failure. SCN News 12:10-14. Growth Hormone: Not for All Short Children.

Medical Sciences Bulletin, Pharmaceutical Information Associates, Ltd. Http://www.pharmingo.com/pubs/msb/grhorm.html. Mason, J. B. 1990. Malnutrition and Infection. SCN News.

5: 2o21; UN Administrative Committee on Coordination-Sub Committee on Nutrition (ACC/SCN). 1995. Maternal Nutrition and health: A Summary of Research on Birth weight. Maternal Nutrition and Health 14 (1/2): 14-17. Pelletier, D. 1995.

The Effects of Malnutrition on Child Mortality in Developing Countries. Bulletin of the World Heath Organization 73 (4); Pelletier, D. 1994. The Relationship between Child Anthropometry and Mortality in Developing Countries. The Journal of Nutrition.

Supplement 124 (1OS). Pollitt, E. 1995. Nutrition in Early Life and the Fulfilment of Intellectual Potential. The Journal of Nutrition. Supplement 125 (4S): 1111S- 1118S. Seifert, Kelvin L.

and Robert J. Hoffnung. Child and Adolescent Development. 1997, Chapter 8, pages 236-244. Psychology.