What Is Growth Hormone Deficiency in Children?

Growth hormone deficiency is a disorder that involves the pituitary gland, which controls the production of growth hormone in the body. The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain behind the back of the nose and near the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a region of the brain that stimulates the secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland into the body. If the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus are damaged and the production of growth hormone is low or absent then a child's growth may be slower than normal. Growth hormone is supposed to be released in bursts into the body throughout the day and night. Growth hormone is essential for children to grow at a normal rate.

Growth hormone deficiency can occur when your child is an infant but also can occur later on in childhood. Children who are diagnosed and treated early on for growth hormone deficiency typically reach a normal height.

What Is the Average or "Normal" Growth for a Child Per Year?

The first year of your child's life they are typically growing very rapidly. On average babies grow about 10 inches in length and triple in weight. Between the ages of 1 and 2 a child typically grows about 5 inches a year and between the ages of 2 and 3 they grow about 3 inches per year. After the age of 3, a child's growth rate slows down. On average they will grown at a steady pace of 2 1/2 inches per year until they reach adolescence. You can help your child grow at a "normal" rate by assuring they have good nutrition, get regular exercise, and are sleeping enough. Every child's growth rate is different and much of it is dependent on genetics and cannot be controlled.

Learn More