The growth differs from person to person and the increase in body length occurs continuously. Many factors play a role in growing. The growth can be divided into three phases. Humans do not always grow appropriately, which can be the result of heredity and diseases.
The growth is different from person to person and the increase in body length occurs continuously.
A person's growth is largely due to the multiplication of body cells. As the cells divide, more and more of these cells are created. This process repeats itself until the person is fully grown.
On average, people grow up to their twenty-fifth year of life. The growth is controlled by the human growth hormone somatotropin, which is directed via the pituitary gland (pituitary gland).
Growth is faster at night because this is the time when the concentration of growth hormone is highest. Children grow at different rates and there are several factors that determine the average height.
When the child is born, the head is about a quarter of the length of the body. This changes in the course of growth. Three growth phases can be distinguished in children and adolescents:
In the first phase, from birth to the age of three, children grow the fastest. During this time they can gain up to 45cm in height. The rate of growth decreases continuously.
From the age of three, one speaks of the second phase of growth. This lasts until shortly before the onset of puberty. In this phase the children grow between five to six centimeters per year.
In the third and final growth phase, which begins during puberty, people gain between seven and nine centimeters in height per year. The growth rate reaches its peak in this growth phase. The adolescents grow between 17 and 24 centimeters, with girls tending to grow a little less than boys.
On average, girls grow a little faster and are initially taller than boys. But this balances out again in the course of puberty. With the end of puberty comes to a halt. The height of adulthood has been reached.
The hormones play the biggest role in growth. They are messenger substances and pass on the information between the cells, the tissue and the organs in the body. Full adult size can only be achieved with a sufficient level of the hormone somatotropin. This hormone regulates almost all growth processes that are important. It also promotes the conversion of body fat into energy, which regulates blood sugar and affects the immune system.
Not only the hormone somatotropin plays an important role in the growth process. Heredity and the way people live are also decisive. For example, if the parents are small, there is a high probability that the child will not grow too tall either. Already at the time of fertilization it is roughly determined how tall a person will become.
It is also crucial which way of life the person pursues during growth. The growth process can be significantly impaired in the case of permanent malnutrition or a poor composition of the food (i.e. too few proteins or vitamins are consumed).
Long-term illnesses or disorders in the function of our glands can negatively affect growth. If there is a deficiency in growth hormone, for example, the person affected suffers from short stature.
When the child is short, the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland does not work sufficiently and the child is lagging behind in physical development. The whole body gives the appearance of an underdeveloped person.
If the thyroid gland does not release enough hormones after birth, this can not only affect the growth in height. These children suffer from myxedematous stature, which can also impair their cognitive abilities. This defect can be remedied to a large extent by supplying the thyroid hormone.
The opposite of short stature is tall stature. The anterior pituitary lobe works too quickly during development. This peculiarity of growth can only become noticeable in the later years of life. In this phase the growth of the bones is already complete. An increase in length of the bones is then not possible, but the bones can then become larger at the ends and the tip enlarges (acromegaly). In this clinical picture, fingers and hands, as well as toes and feet, nose, lips and chin are enlarged.
Taller people are more likely to struggle with back problems. The body has a heavy burden to bear, which manifests itself in the form of back pain. But even small people have to struggle in everyday life. Not only do small people rate their quality of life as lower on average, they also suffer more often from depression, anxiety and malaise.
According to a study, people's satisfaction increases with size. The concrete reason for this, however, is less to be sought in the biology of humans than more in the social values that define a certain size as attractive.
In our age, thanks to modern medical advances, it is possible to determine the expected height. A precise method is to determine the age of the bones. This investigation allows conclusions to be drawn about the expected growth.
A growth curve can also be created in a somatogram. The body develops in the same percentile of body length, which can be used to predict what future development will be.