Slow-Growing Kids Catch up by Early Teens

First Posted: Feb 25, 2013 04:00 AM EST

Slow growth in children can be a major concern for parents. Because it has been a long tradition to measure the children's health by their physical growth, slow growth can be an early indication of a disease or illness. Parents are worried that increasing the calorie intake of slow growing children can put them at a risk of obesity in the long run.

A recent finding offers some relief to those parents whose children are experiencing slow growth. According to the study conducted by researchers at the University of Bristol, during the first nine months, babies are slow in gaining weight but catch up with their normal peers by the age of 13.

The study worked on data from 11,499 children who were a part of the study in the 90s. Among them, 507 children were slow to gain weight in the first eight months and 480 kids were slow to put on weight between eight weeks and nine months. Nearly 30 children were common to both the groups.

The researchers noticed that the first group of 507 infants put on weight by the age of 2, whereas the other group slowly put on weight till the age of 7 and then had a spurt between 7-10 years. But they were shorter and lighter than the other children.

The researchers predict that the difference in the recovery pattern between the two groups is due to the different reasons for slow weight gain.

Professor Alan Emond, the paper's main author said in a press statement, "The reason the early group caught up more quickly may be because those infants had obvious feeding difficulties and were more readily identified at the eight-week check, resulting in early treatment leading to a more rapid recovery. Those children who showed slow weight gain later in infancy took longer to recover, because of the longer period of slow growth and because their parents were smaller and lighter too."

The study highlights the importance of monitoring the babies' weight and height gain during the first weeks and month.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

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