Kids and teens: want to grow taller?

Many parents come into Dr. Yik‘s office asking what their child can do or eat to grow taller. What factors influence how tall your child will be?

Scientists estimate that about 80% of your height is determined by the DNA sequence variants you inherited from your parents. For most individuals, height is controlled largely by genes, with some contribution from environmental factors such as those below. If you are a child or teenager, here are some things you should pay attention to if you want to reach your maximum height:

  1. Nutrition and a balanced diet are key to children’s growth. Children and teenagers should eat appropriate amounts of protein (meat, fish, eggs, etc.), vegetables, grains, fruit, beans, milk and nuts/ seeds. Calcium, protein and zinc are important nutrients for height (linear) growth.
  2. Adequate sleep is needed for optimal growth and development. Growth hormones are only released when we are in deep sleep, and studies show that peak growth hormone secretion occurs between 10pm to 2am. Children should go to bed before this golden period to allow themselves enough time to enter into deep sleep. 1- to 2- year-olds are advised to sleep 11 to 14 hours; 10 to 13 hours of sleep for 3- to 5-year-olds; 9 to 11 hours for 6- to 13-year-olds; and 8 to 10 hours for 14- to 17-year-olds.
  3. Exercise, exercise, exercise! By stimulating growth hormone release, regular physical activity also plays a key role in childhood development and helping kids reach their maximum height. In particular, jumping/ skipping rope, basketball, swimming and cycling can help children and teens grow tall.

Dr. Yik can help you determine your nutrient status through various nutrition tests (new patients can request for the complimentary zinc tally test) and diet analysis. She knows which nutrients are key to optimizing growth and development. Click here to read how she can boost your child’s health.


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