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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices

Do You Know How Your Child Grows?

Do You Know How Your Child Grows?

How much do you know about the way children grow? Take this short "test" adapted with permission from the Human Growth Foundation.

1. (True/False) After age two, most children grow approximately one inch each year.

2. (True/False) Growth rate usually slows down after the first year

3. (True/False) Parents should be concerned if their child is shorter than his or her classmates of the same age.

4. (True/False) Short stature can signal more serious medical problems.

5. (True/False) The number of boys with short stature far exceeds the number of girls.

6. (True/False) Children who eat more and exercise more will grow up to be taller.

7. (True/False) The average girl grows only two to three inches after she begins menstruating

8. (True/False) Characteristic of personality are genetically controlled

9. (True/False) Emotional problems can affect a child's growth

10. (True/False) Short children often develop emotional and psychological problems

11. (True/False) Girls can go through puberty as early as age nine and as late as age fifteen

12. (True/False) The first sign of puberty in boys is acne or the appearance of facial hair.

13. (True/False) Most girls have their first period between the ages of 12 and 13.

14. (True/False) The growth spurt that that goes along with adolescence usually begins about age 11 in girls and 13 in boys.

15. (True/False) The average baby grows twice as much in height during the first year compared to the second year.

1. False The average child grows two or more inches per year

2. True The rate of growth slows down between the ages of one and two. Because growth rate slows, appetite slows as well. However, careful monitoring of growth rates allows for early diagnosis and treatment of short stature.

3. True Although this may not signify a serious medical condition, parents should always discuss their child's growth with their pediatrician

4. True While not necessarily indicating a problem, growth failure may be a sign of a more serious medical condition, such as a disease of the kidneys, heart, or lungs

5. False Most experts believe there should be a 1-to-1 ration of boys to girls identified as being short. However, a study of 13,000 children being treated for growth hormone inadequacy found that boys outnumber girls by 3:1, indicating that many girls with this condition may be under diagnosed or undetected.

6. False Final adult height is primarily determined by genetic factors, and correlates with the height of the parents. However, children with a hormonal imbalance, such as growth hormone inadequacy, may not achieve their full growth potential.

7. True For this reason, it is important to recognize growth disorders before puberty in order to benefit from treatment.

8. True Research has shown that personality characteristics, as well as some patterns like sleep, and traits such as adaptability, attention span, and quality of mood, are rooted in our brain and nervous system.

9. True Severe emotional deprivation may imped a child's growth. These children usually grow better when placed in a different environment.

10. True Some children with short stature may have problems with emotional or social maturity. They may try to compensate by "acting out" This may result in future behavioral or social problems.

11. True The average age of the onset of puberty in girls is 10 ½ years starting with the development of breast enlargement. However, many normal girls begin puberty early, between ages 6-8. Girls with early development of puberty, however, require evaluation by a pediatric endocrinologist to be certain that their early maturation does not reflect a hidden central nervous system problem, or other disorders of the adrenal gland or ovary.

12. False Surprisingly, the first sign of puberty is not acne as some teenagers may think nor is it growing taller or getting hairier. The first sign of puberty, enlargement of the testes, is actually one that most boys don't notice but can be measured in a doctor's office. This usually happens on average at 11 ½ years of age with a normal range of 9 to 14 years.

13. True Most girls get their first periods between the ages of 12 and 13. But everyone's clock is different, and is normal to menstruate as early as age 9. Some girls are late starters but most reach puberty by the time they're 16.

14. True. The adolescent growth spurt in girls usually begins around the 11th birthday and reaches a peak at age 12. Growth is usually complete by age 14.4. For boys, adolescent growth begins two years later at age 13, reaches its peak at age 14, and usually slows down by age 15.2 years.

15. True. A baby is about 20 inches long at birth (give or take an inch) and will grow another 10 inches over the first year to reach about 30 inches by their first birthday. During the second year od life, growth is half this fast, so at two years of age, the child will be about 35 inches tall.

Parents can learn more about the Human Growth Foundation by visiting their web site at or calling them at 1-800-451-6434


As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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