In normal, healthy children there is a wide range of height and weight, and differences occur mainly due to inherited factors.
About the next growth disorder we can usually only speak if the child is out of bounds of that range for his/hers age.
The most common eating disorder in children (and adults) in developed countries is obesity. Obesity should be treated not only because it is detrimental to the child’s health, but because it often continues in adulthood and, because of it, dangers that follow many illnesses increase. The other extreme is malnutrition that can be due to social factors or diseases, such as celiac disease and cystic fibrosis.
Puberty usually begins in girls at the age of about 11.5, and in boys at the age of about 13.5 years. Delayed puberty is often inherited.
Hormonal diseases (which are mainly due to insufficient hormone production in the pituitary and thyroid gland) are the least common among growth disorders, including gigantism, nanosmia and hypothyroidism.
Permanent growth disorder can also be a side effect of some severe chronic illnesses such as congenital heart defect, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic renal insufficiency.
What to do?
If you are concerned about your child’s growth, take it to a doctor. After the examination, your doctor will probably be able to comfort you (if there is nothing wrong with your child). If a doctor suspect on some basic disease, he will refer the child to the appropriate diagnostic tests.