Most millennial parents will have memories of their parents measuring their height with a measuring tape and then making a mark on the wall, a door frame, or one of those cutesy height posters that we see at clinics.
Those truly were the days!
Going back to our parents’ homes now, we still reminisce over those markings on the wall and when we bring our kids to visit their grandparents, we compare our height to theirs now.
It’s such a beautiful experience. But as time progresses, so must we.
While some of us still practice the markings on the walls, it’s now done more so for nostalgia (or Instagram!) rather than to actually check on our child’s progress.
We often wait for paediatrician visits to check our child’s height and weight for a proper analysis of their development. During these visits, the paediatrician will examine our child and plot their growth against a chart. Then, they will usually let us know if our child is growing on the right track.
Signs that paediatricians look out for when examining our children are if their height and weight are within the normal range, whether a child is responsive to stimulation, and also just looking at a child overall to determine if he or she is well nourished.
One example of stimulation is checking which milestone the child is supposed to be hitting at that stage – like walking or talking – and conducting on the spot tests to see if the child can do so.
Besides that, we often see developmental toys in a paediatrician’s office, like building blocks or musical instruments, to see how children react to them. If the skills required for that age are demonstrated, then there is nothing to worry about.
Usually, if the child is developing well, the paediatrician will inform us, and we will happily accept their feedback.
But if we are using the more traditional method of marking our child’s height on the wall, the average parent would not be able to tell if their child is growing at the normal rate beyond the measurement number besides comparing their height to their peers.
That is why, one of the easiest ways to keep track of your child’s development for height and weight is via an app – one that has all of this information ready for you and will even explain it the way a paediatrician would!
Novo Nordisk has introduced a new app called Growth Journey™, which is a fun and useful way to store information about your child’s development.
Growth Journey™ app: Height and weight tracker for your kids
Using augmented reality, the app captures your child’s height using a camera (applicable for children of all ages!). Just get your child to stand up straight next to a parent and snap a photo. The app will then automatically measure the height based on the parent’s height.
Alternatively, you may key in your child’s measurements manually, if you prefer. You can even track the development of multiple children at the same time.
After all the data is collected, the app will then be able to tell you where your child ranks on the World Health Organization’s growth chart. Typically, what the results mean is where your child ranks against the average child in the world according to that age.
For example, a boy who is 2 years old is usually about 87cm tall. If your child is taller than this height, then they will likely be plotted above the 50th percentile. If your child is shorter than this, then they will be plotted below the 50th percentile.
If there are any abnormalities in their height in accordance with their age, the app will also give you an alert to check with a doctor.
A glimpse into the future
Something really cool about the app is that it will also give you a glimpse into the future. You will be able to see your child’s predicted height when they grow up! This is also a good indicator as it is customised for parents to track and see if their child is growing on the right trajectory.
Over time, when you log enough entries, you will be able to see your child’s growth book and see their historical growth. This will give you a great insight into whether your child is on track in their overall development.
You might be wondering; what can height possibly tell us in terms of your child’s overall development?
Well, in fact, height is an important factor in knowing whether a child is in good or bad health. Slow growth may be a sign of poor nutrition or an underlying medical condition.
Of course, bear in mind, genetics also play a role in this. Children with shorter parents can be expected to have inherited similar genes.
But what if that’s not the case? Could your child be suffering from a serious medical condition?
What if your child is not reaching growth milestones?
There is a chance that if your child is not plotting well against the height and weight chart on the app, that they might be suffering from growth hormone deficiency.
Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is a condition in which a child’s body is lacking growth hormones.
The function of growth hormones is to regulate bone mass, muscle mass, muscular strength, body composition, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, and cardiac function. Therefore, people with untreated GHD are at risk of health issues like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and heart diseases later in life.
The immediate effects will be seen in children, who will be shorter than most kids of their age. However, this may be overlooked because they appear to have normal body proportions.
As a result, children with GHD may not attain the potential adult height that they could have if the condition was treated earlier. Or they could even suffer from delayed puberty.
Early recognition of GHD is important because this condition can be present at birth or develop later. So, it’s good to keep an eye on the signs from the get-go to start treatment for the most optimal outcome. Therefore, it is important to keep track of your child’s development, which you can do so easily with the Growth Journey app.
Besides slow growth in height, GHD might also be diagnosed if the child is showing other symptoms such as a micropenis in male infants, prolonged neonatal jaundice, craniofacial defects such as cleft lip, or postnatal failure to thrive (affecting both weight and height).
Treatment for GHD
The good news is that GHD is treatable by introducing growth hormones to affected children.
This treatment will quicken the child’s development in just 3-6 months. You might notice that they are growing faster than usual, that they have a bigger appetite, and that they might look a little skinnier than usual for the first couple of months (because they’re growing in height more quickly).
The duration of the treatment will vary according to your child’s needs but generally children will only stop treatment once they can reach their full adult height or achieve full bone maturity.
If children are undergoing treatment, then monitoring their height and weight becomes even more important.
Parents must strictly monitor their children every 3 months and go for regular check-ups with their paediatricians.
To stay ahead of your child’s developmental needs, download the Growth Journey™ app now on the Google Play Store or App Store for iOS.
This article is for educational purposes only. In case of any doubt, always consult your qualified healthcare professional.
1 Sinha, S. (2019, November 22). Hyposomatotropism (Growth Hormone Deficiency). Retrieved October 19, 2020, from emedicine.medscape.com/article/922543-overview