When it comes to the question of stature, surveys and studies from around the world seem to agree; the taller a person stands, the easier life becomes. Researchers looking at the unfair advantage of height report that taller people earn more money and enjoy more attention from their peers, resulting in greater levels of happiness1.
However, stunting is prevalent among Malaysian children throughout various ethnicities and across different income levels. According to UNICEF’s 2018 ‘Children Without’ study, the stunting rate was at 22 percent within Malaysia’s urban poor – a rate worse than Ghana, Africa despite our country’s Gross domestic Product (GDP) achievements2.
Meanwhile, one in five Malaysian children are stunted and this could be detrimental to their health as they may be at increased risk for various chronic conditions later in life3. Stunting has a long-term impact on a child’s development within areas including academics, physical aspects and overall health4.
As parents, we train our children to surpass us by building their minds, securing their health, and implanting a never-say-die attitude no matter the obstacles. But the statistics also remind us to consider physical growth when sharpening our children’s edges for success.
Here’s what you can do to give your child a height premium.
Surprising nutritional facts
Pay close attention to the first five years of childhood – this window is critical in achieving your child’s growth potential. Did you know that children achieve 60% of their final adult height in the first five years of life5? Plus, nutrition contributes as much as 80% towards helping children achieve their maximum height potential6.
Top foods that can help your child grow taller
Among the best foods for strengthening bones, joints and muscles are protein rich beans like chickpeas, lentils, and peas. Not only are these beans packed with protein, but provide growing bodies with iron and Vitamin B that’s required for growth, as well development.
Almonds are another important dietary addition. They add healthy fats, fibre and Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that doubles as an antioxidant
Cheese, yoghurt, egg yolks and fermented foods like tempeh and natto (traditional Japanese fermented soy bean) are especially rich in Vitamin K2. This unique nutrient promotes bone density to support enhanced growth and helps maintain height.
Eggs are another awesome yet readily available power food. It is a good source of protein and provide Vitamin D to increase calcium absorption for sturdier musculo-skeletal health. Researchers from the American journal Pediatrics have also uncovered evidence that eggs have the potential to prevent stunting7. Not to mention, eggs are an easy-cook breakfast food for your kids start their day – have them scrambled or hard!
Steam some sweet potatoes too, as they are a flexible and palatable food, rich in Vitamin A for bone health. Together with servings of yoghurt, sweet potatoes offer the body fibres that boost good gut bacteria for a better immune system.
What about milk?
Milk is a key component for a healthy, balanced diet. Even more so for children who are picky eaters and might not take too quickly to a plate of steamed vegetables. For parents who are concerned on their child’s growth patterns, PediaSure® is one such brand, which is a complete and balanced supplement, scientifically formulated to help kids catch-up on growth. With two glasses a day, parents will be able to note improvement in growth in as soon as eight weeks8.
In fact, PediaSure® encourages parents to measure the height and weight of their children against a growth chart at least once in six months to monitor children’s growth progress. For any concerns on growth patterns, parents are encouraged to talk to their paediatricians.
Did you know you can also predict if your child’s growth is on track to achieving their potential adult height? You can do this by using height-predictor.
To cater to finicky tastes buds, parents can opt between vanilla and chocolate flavours, or the newly introduced plain flavour (with 0% sucrose) for a complete and balanced nutritional supplement. Formulated with Arginine (to trigger the release of Growth Factors), Natural Vitamin K2 that promotes calcium transfer into bones, and 25 key nutrients for longer bone growth9.
Do lots of stretching exercises with your child. Before and after hitting the playground, do simple ones like the wall-stretch. Ask your child to align their back with a wall, then raise their hands and stretch out as much as possible. Perform this stretch both by standing on their feet and seated on the ground. Alternatively, get your child to do toe-touching exercises. These are great for elongating the spine and improving posture.
Encourage your child to perform high-intensity workouts too! Running, climbing, swimming, and jumping activities are all great ways to stimulate growth hormones10 in the body and help your child grow taller.
Don’t forget to emphasise rest and sleep
Combined with excellent nutrition and fun-filled activities, getting adequate sleep (most young children need an average of 10-13 hours of sleep a day) will go a long way to helping your child achieve their maximum height potential11. Lack of sleep actually suppresses growth hormones and even affects school performance. This means a noticeable effect on decision making, shortened attention span and the decreasing of memory power.
Cleanliness is next to godliness
Or so the saying goes. Good hygiene habits such as teaching children to frequently wash their hands also go a long way to reducing downtime caused by sickness. It’s important to remember, when children fall sick, the nutrients meant for growth are redirected to battle against illness, thus becoming ineffective in contributing to their overall growth. This is also the reason PediaSure® has been designed to reduce sick days by up to 64% for more growth days12.
Four steps to take your child to greater heights
PediaSure®’s Grow Right campaign, that emphasises the importance of nutrition, play, good hygiene practices and sleep, is a well-rounded strategy to boost peak growth in your child when their bodies are most pliable.
Taking these four components into consideration when planning your child’s every day schedule ensures not only growth in terms of height and weight, but also places them on a path to adulthood success. And that’s the ultimate goal for any parent.
Learn more and request for a free PediaSure sample.
Get the #1 child nutrition supplement recommended by experts for your child by PediaSure now!
1“Tall vs short: Which is it better to be? – BBC Future.” 28 Sep. 2015, https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20150928-tall-vs-small-which-is-it-better-to-be. Accessed 28 Jul. 2020.
2 “Children living in poverty: unseen, but among us – Unicef.” 26 Feb. 2018, https://www.unicef.org/eap/press-releases/children-living-poverty-unseen-among-us. Accessed 28 Jul. 2020.
3Full report of IMFeD Nationwide Growth Screening exercise among 225 participating private paediatric clinics between April – July 2018 among 20,748 children between 1-5 years old
4 “Childhood Stunting: Context, Causes and Consequences.” https://www.who.int/nutrition/events/2013_ChildhoodStunting_colloquium_14Oct_ConceptualFramework_colour.pdf?ua=1. Accessed 28 Jul. 2020.
5WHO Growth Standard, 2007.
6Jelenkovic, A, et al. Genetic and environmental influences on height from infancy to early adulthood, 2016.
7 https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/140/1/e20163459 – Lora L. Iannotti, Chessa K. Lutter, Christine P. Stewart, Carlos Andres Gallegos Riofrío, Carla Malo, Gregory Reinhart, Ana Palacios, Celia Karp, Melissa Chapnick, Katherine Cox and William F. Waters. Eggs In Early Complementary Feeding And Child Growth: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pediatrics July 2017, 140 (1) e20163459; DOI: doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-3459
8Huynh DTT et al. J Hum Nutr Diet (2015), 28, 623-635. Longitudinal growth and health outcomes in nutritionally at-risk children who received long-term nutritional intervention & Huynh DTT et al. Jr of Nutr Sci.2016;5(20). Impact of long-term use of oral nutritional supplement on nutritional adequacy, dietary diversity, food intake and growth of Filipino preschool children.Kenneth R. Ginsburg, The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds. Available from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/1/182. Last accessed June 29, 2020.
9 Van Vught AJ et al. Dietary arginine and linear growth: The Copenhagen school child intervention study. Br J Nutr (2013), 109, 1031-1039.
11Steven Dowshen, MD. Can Lack of Sleep Stunt Your Growth? Available from https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/sleep-growth.html#:~:text=A%20single%20night%20of%20no,is%20normally%20released%20during%20sleep. Last accessed June 29, 2020.
12Huynh DTT et al. J Hum Nutr Diet (2015), 28, 623-635. Longitudinal growth and health outcomes in nutritionally at-risk children who received long-term nutritional intervention.
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