Influences on Normal Physical Development

Influences on Normal Physical Development Physical growth in early childhood is partially easy to measure and give s an idea of how children normally develop during this period. The average chil d in North America is less than three feet tall at two years of age. Physical g rowth contains no discrete stages, plateaus, or qualitative changes. Large diff erences may develop between individual children and among groups of children. S ometimes these differences affect the psychological development of young childre n. These differences create a nice variety among children. Most dimensions of growth are influenced by the child's genetic backgrou nd. Also, races and ethnic backgrounds around the world differ in growth patter ns. Nutrition can affect growth, but it does not override genetic factors. One factor in the cause of slow growth is malnutrition. Malnutrition ca n 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, i mpaired educational attainment, and cerebral problems. Such children are also m ore 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 diseas e is magnified at the level of the hungry child. There is evidence, according t o The Journal of Nutrition, that an estimated 50 percent of disease-related mort ality among infants could be avoided if infant malnutrition were eradicated. It has also been shown that low birth- weight is associated with increased prevale nce of diseases such as stroke, heart disease and diabetes in adult life. Mos t damage during the first few years of life cannot easily be undone. There are many reasons why some children never reach normal height. Som e 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 dis order of bone growth. It affects about one in every 26,000 births. It occurs i n all races and in both sexes. It is one of the oldest recorded birth defects f ound 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 menta lly retarded because they are slow to sit, stand, and walk alone. In most cases , however, a child with achondroplasia has normal intelligence. Children with a chondroplasia occasionally die suddenly in infancy or early childhood. These de aths usually occur during sleep and are thought to result from compression of th e upper end of the spinal cord, which can interfere with breathing. This diseas e is caused by an abnormal gene. The discovery of the gene allowed the developm ent of highly accurate prenatal tests that can diagnose or rule out achondroplas ia. There is currently no way to normalize skeletal development of children wit h achondroplasia, so there is no cure. Growth hormone treatments, which increas e height in some forms of short stature, do not substantially increase the heigh t of children with achondroplasia. There is no way to prevent the majority of c ases of achondroplasia, since these births result from totally unexpected gene m utations 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 t reating only those children with classic growth hormone deficiency to treating s hort 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 boy s describe themselves as less socially active but not having more behavioral pro blems 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 Buffa

Another factor in the growth of children is their change of appetite. Pelletier. 1990. Byers. The Effects of ld Mortality in Developing Countries. Y oung preschoolers may eat less than they did as a toddler. it usually can be reversed in the short run thr ough special nutritional and medical intervention to help the child regain stren gth and begin growing normally again. D. SCN News 12:10-14. If children fall behind in growth becau se of poor nutrition or hormonal deficiencies. Golden. Children 's food preferences are influenced by the adult models around them. Mat ernal Nutrition and Health 14 (1/2): 14-17. Preschool children simply do not need as many calories as they did after birth. Malnutrition on Chi Heath Organization Anthropometry and M Supplement 124 (1O Pollitt. 1995. J. and Robert J.html. 1995. The Emergence of Chronic Diseases in Developing Countries. D.1118S. a condition marked by reduced physical growth. Medical Sciences Bulletin. they often can achieve catch-up g rowth if slow growth has not been too severe or prolonged.cuny. Http://www. SC N News 13: 14-19. 1994. and preschoolers become more selective about their food preferences. as do the quality of nutrition and children's experiences with illness. M. noah. The Journal of Nutrition. Pharmaceutical Information Associates. Betw een the ages of two and five. The Journal of rhorm. Supplement 125 (4S): 1111S. The Relationship between Child ortality in Developing Countries. Variations in growth can result from cultural and psychological factors. 1 995. 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. T. E. Ltd. A few children suffe r from failure to thrive. S). N. This is also when th ey will become more selective and choosy with the foods they eat. growth slows down and children take on more adult bodily proportions.html. B. Specific deficiencies versus growth fa ilure. 5: 2o21. They urge that physicians consider both a child's short stature and ps ycho social functioning before making a referral for growth hormone therapy. Preschooler s tend to like the same foods as their parents and other important adults in the ir lives. If failure to thrive has not persisted for too long. Growth Hormone: Not for All Short Children. These changes are normal and result from the slowing down of growth after infancy. Hoffnung. Genetic and ethnic backgrounds affect its overall rate. Mason. Pelletier. There are many factors that can result in slow growth in children. Bulletin of the World 73 (4). This condition may result from situations that interfere with normal positive relationships between parent and child. Kelvin L. UN A dministrative Committee on Coordination-Sub Committee on Nutrition (ACC/SCN). Bibliography Achondroplasia. Maternal Nutrition and health: A Summary of Research on Birth weight. 1995. Public Health Education Information Sheet. Nutrition in Early Life and the Fulfilment of Intell ectual Potential. Usually growth is rather smooth during the preschool period . Child and Adolescent Develop . The nervousness can interfere with sleep or the production of growth hormones. Http://www. Seifert.lo.pharmingo. The researchers conclude growth hormone therapy should not be administered routinely to all short children for the purpose of improving their psychological health. Children's appetites are oft en smaller in the preschool years than in infancy. Malnutrition and Infection. fects/achondro. SCN News. The result is a deprived relationship that may lead the child to eat poorly or be plagued by constant anxiety. 1995. especially during infancy or t he early preschool period. possibl y as a result of family stress and conflict.

pages 236-244. Chapter 8. Word Count: 1230 . 1997.ment.

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