Common Specialities
{{speciality.keyWord}}
Common Issues
{{issue.keyWord}}
Common Treatments
{{treatment.keyWord}}

Know The Causes Behind Stunted Growth In Children!

Dr. Sushma Narayan (Aiims) 88% (241 ratings)
MBBS, Diploma in Child Health (DCH), Pediatric Gastroenterology
Pediatrician, Delhi  •  40 years experience
Know The Causes Behind Stunted Growth In Children!

Everyone wants their babies to healthy and grow up to be a healthy-wealthy person. However, little they focus on this issue or are capable of giving their infants the best of medical standards. Problems show up in children early and if overlooked, may hamper their future life a lot. Constant check-ups are necessary to be it pre-birth or post the birth of a baby, and for this, a parent should always be in contact of a pediatrician.
Pediatrics is the medicinal branch that involves the health care of babies, children, and adolescents. It is recommended that people should be under pediatric care up to age 21. Pediatricians are involved with important tests that are standardized by World Health Organisation Child Growth Standards.

Stunted Growth Of Infants and Children
Also known as nutritional stunting, it is a distinctive reduced growth rate in human body development. Stunted growth is the primary manifestation of undernutrition (or malnutrition) and recurrent infections after birth and early childhood. Another main reason is the malnutrition during fetal development brought by a malnourished mother. The accurate definition of stunting according to WHO stands for the “height for age” value to be lower than two standard deviations of World Health Organisation Child Growth Standards.

In 2012, an estimated 25 percent of children under 5 years of age i.e. ~162 million children were stunted. More of this count nearing 90 percent lies only in two continents, Africa and Asia. The affected children may never regain their loss of height, and most of them will never gain the equal weight.

Health effects
Apart from shorter stature, the adolescent may get hit by the greater risk of illness, delayed mental development, lowered cognitive capacity and women with stunted growth have a higher risk of complications during delivery due to the smaller pelvis, and the child could have low birth weight during birth.

Causes of Stunted growth
Apart from malnutrition and some rare genetic disorders, South Asia and most developing nations are having a higher number of stunted children due to poor maternal nutrition, poor feeding practices, and poor sanitation.

Maternal nutrition
Poor breastfeeding during pregnancy and maternal nutrition could be a leading cause for the stunted growth of the child. Also, women who are suffering from anemia or are underweight during pregnancy are more likely to perpetuate the intergenerational transmitting of stunting.

Sanitation
Ingestion of a high number of fecal bacteria through the soiled finger in a poorly sanitized area leads to intestinal infections. This affects the nutritional status of his/her by diminishing appetite, reducing nutrition absorption and increasing nutrient loss.

Feeding practices
Inadequate feeding, lack of vital nutrients, poor calorie intake can lead to stunted growth. Minimum requirements should be met in the diet in proper frequency to avoid malnutrition.

A Note for feeding mothers
Lactating mothers should get themselves proper nutrition, and if they are in doubt of their health should postpone the decision of having a child.

Chronic diarrhoea, Celiac disease, thyroid disorders and growth hormone deficiency also contribute, significantly, to short stature. Regular measurement of height & weight on a growth chart by a trained Pediatrician helps to pick up the lags in these vital growth and development parameters. 

3858 people found this helpful