Common Markers of Child Development
Physical growth is much more than overall height. It also includes weight changes, hair growth, teeth loss and regrowth, and emotional changes and brain development. Overall growth and weight gain occur at a steady pace throughout childhood, with most kids growing about 2 inches and gaining about 4 to 7 pounds per year until puberty. That said, every child is different, and periods of growth vary throughout the years.
Once a child approaches puberty, they may grow especially quickly and experience a significant growth spurt. This generally happens between ages 8 to 13 in girls and ages 10 to 15 in boys, and it can last for two to five years. This growth spurt is often accompanied by the hallmarks of puberty including development of breasts in females, the enlargement of testicles in males, and hair growth under arms and in the pubic area. During this pubescent time, your child may grow several inches in a short period.
The Nutrition Needed During a Child's Growth Spurt
Good nutrition is crucial to your child's healthy growth and development at all stages, but especially during early adolescence. The recommended daily intake for many vitamins and minerals increases during adolescence to support this period of rapid growth.
Although your kid may be hungrier than normal, make sure they eat a well-balanced diet with a variety of healthy foods and nutrients. You should offer a variety of foods from each food group daily to ensure your child gets the protein, vitamins, and minerals they need. If your child doesn't eat enough calories and nutrients, nutrition supplements such as PediaSure® Grow & Gain can help fill some of the gaps.
Nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D play a significant role during a growth spurt. Building lifelong healthy bones starts in childhood. A systematic review in Osteoporosis International suggests that calcium and Vitamin D intake improves bone accumulation and growth.
Encourage your child to eat plenty of calcium-rich foods, like dairy, leafy greens, salmon, and soy, as well as vitamin D foods like eggs, tuna, yogurt and mushrooms. The review in Osteoporosis International also recommends eating more fruits and vegetables since their consumption has also been associated with higher bone mass.