Ways of height development in children

Part 1: How is the skeleton of our body formed and developed?

Embryonic stage

The bone grows from the dermis and develops through three stages: the membrane, cartilage and bone. Human membrane skeletons are formed in the first month of pregnancy. The membrane turns into cartilage at the beginning of the second month and is gradually replaced by bone at the end of this month of the embryo. Entering the third month, the fetus with the skeleton develops very fast, with a very clear division of the elbows, knuckles in both hands and feet. By May-June, the joints in the arms and legs began to move. At 18 weeks your baby’s limbs can swing and kick. In July-August, muscles develop around the bone. The last month of pregnancy, your baby’s bones are basically hard bones with all the parts but the bones are still very soft.

Postpartum period: The human skeleton is divided into three parts, namely the head, torso and limb. People are divided into 4 types of bones: Long bones; short bones; flat bones, irregular bone shape. The junction between the bone ends is called the joint.

Figure 1: Human skeleton viewed from the front

Figure A, in children (with cartilage growing at the ends of the bones (green). Figure B, in adults (no cartilage growing at the tip of the bone).

Anatomy of bone

Figure 2: Long-bone structure in children with cartilage developing at the tip of bone.

Structure of long bones: The two ends of bone are porous bone tissue containing bone marrow. Wrap both ends of the bone cartilage layer. The middle segment is a tubular bone body, composed of a thin outer periosteum, a bone cortex, and a bone cavity containing the bone marrow.

Structure of short bones, flat bones, and irregular bone: outside is hard bone tissue; inside is porous bone tissue containing bone marrow.

How does bone growth work?

In infants most of the bone is made up of cartilage material, and as the child grows, the cartilage gradually turns into bone – through a process called fibrosis. Bones grow horizontally because of dividing periosteum cells creating new cells that push old cells inside and then become bone. Bone growth is due to the process of cell division in growth cartilage, also known as the focal points of the bone. With long bones they are located at the tip of the bone and when mature will converge and integrate with the body of the bone. The short, flat bones all have growth cartilage, the surrounding cartilage. In young children, the major component of the bones in the ankles and wrists is cartilage, so it has not been shown on film. The cartilage grows initially as an unstructured cartilage organization, and then gradually shows up on film. Each growth cartilage is differentized at different times of life, so they appear on X-ray films at different times.

How do children grow up?

Children grow taller as their bones grow longer and larger. In long bones, this growth does not take place over the entire length of the bones, but rather at the ends of the bone due to the growth of cartilage growth, especially at the tip of the bone near the knee, near the shoulder joint, near the wrist. Growth occurs slowly throughout childhood. But by puberty, both boys and girls have grown up. By adolescence, bone growth slows down and does not grow longer. At that time, the cartilage growth at the tip of the bone can no longer be converted into bone because it has changed into bone, so the child is not taller, on the X-ray image of the bone will not see the picture of cartilage growth at the tip of the bone. Thus, when taking X-rays of lower extremities to see the picture of cartilage growth, it cannot be higher. Girls usually stop growing taller than boys by 1 or 2 years, so the average height in boys is bigger than girls.

Figure 3: Bone growth over time

Part 2: How to get the best height growth.

Human height is influenced by the following factors: nutrition; genetic; strength training, living environment … Children have 3 stages where the body grows very quickly in height that is the fetus period, the period from birth to 3 years and pre-puberty period, people also known as 3 golden stages to develop height. In order for children to develop height, parents need to grasp 3 golden stages to develop height and impact on 3 main factors related to their height development:

Nutrition factor

Nutrition is the factor that has the greatest influence on not only developing height but also physical, intellectual of children. Nutritional supplements should be made right from the mother’s pregnancy. At birth, mothers should breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months because breast milk helps babies increase height better than formula milk. By the time of weaning and after that, children need to be supplemented with 4 groups of protein, sugar, fat, vitamins and minerals, and must have a variety of foods. Proteins play an essential role in the structure of the body, especially animal proteins with all the necessary amino acids. Fat is important for the development of long bones in children as a child, and fat also helps to increase absorption of oil-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, …) to help the bone development. Children need to get enough food containing essential minerals such as Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese, Boron, Silicon, chondroitin, DHA …

In children, the bones grow long and enlarge due to the process of converting cartilage into bone called “the process of reification”. This process requires materials including calcium, phosphorus and the participation of transporting and activating factors such as vitamin D, Calcitriol, Osteocalcin, Vitamin K2 … Calcium-rich foods such as shrimp, crabs, fish, shrimp, snails, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, … When the body is provided with calcium, phosphorus, the process of metabolism begins. When vitamin D3 is converted into the active form, Calcitriol, this substance will progress to “bone formation” (the basic substance in the bone) to stimulate the production of osteocalcin – a factor that will be located on the surface of the bone to help enhance the delivery. calcium into the bone. However, the osteocalcin produced by the osteoclasts is unable to transport calcium into the bones immediately, but requires the activation of vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 helps activate osteocalcin in its inactive form to the active form, and the new active form of osteocalcin attaches to calcium, bringing calcium into the bone, helping the bones grow long and to grow.

Vitamin K2 is therefore effective against rickets and osteoporosis. Without vitamin K2, the amount of calcium absorbed in the body will not be used effectively and can be dangerous.

Vitamin K2 is found in cheese, tofu, especially Japanese fermented tofu (natto), butter, egg yolks. On the market today there are many vitamin K2 supplements in the form of MK7.


Exercise is as important as nutritional supplements. If you want your body to develop well, be healthy and have the height you want, you should create a habit of exercising and exercising right from an early age with exercises suitable for each age. Should keep up the high jump, long jump, hit the bar, swim, to stretch, stretching, stimulating the spine and bones to develop. The muscle movement will stimulate, accelerate energy metabolism, metabolism, promote body growth, increase the amount of calcium into bone tissue to help bones stronger and develop better. Training time with high intensity lasting 1.5-2 hours / day can increase GH 3 times. Exercising during the day also increases GH at night. The practice should be maintained moderately and increase intensity steadily over time, if only gentle workout for a short time or heavy exercise too upstairs does not promote height development. For such benefits, parents need to guide and give their children a daily exercise routine with moderate exercise suitable for their age.

Get enough sleep

Sleep is also a very important part because bone length development mainly takes place at night. Scientists in the United States find that 90% of bone growth takes place during sleep or rest; lack of sleep or staying up at night will affect the height development steadily over time. Good sleep, deep sleep helps the body to release growth hormone, helps increase calcium absorption, stimulates long bones and comprehensive physical development. The amount of sleep time depends on the needs of each age, but generally children need to sleep more than 8 hours a day.

Part 3: Some misconceptions about height increase

Every newborn, young child and adolescent has different growth and development milestones. Adolescent diets are not recommended because this is the stage when essential nutrition is needed for growth in a child’s weight and height. If your child is gaining weight, do not rush to apply dietary measures like adults but consult your doctor for appropriate adjustments until your child matures.

There are many drugs or supplements that increase height, but most of them are calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 (MK7). In addition, some medications or supplements have a growth hormone component.

Growth hormone, called Growth hormone (GH), secreted by the anterior pituitary affects almost all tissues in the body, stimulates cell growth, increases both size and size. Stimulates cell division, affects the entire metabolism of all cells, increases fat breakdown to release energy, and reduces glucose utilization, indirect effects on cartilage and bone tissue . The growth hormone secretion process is regulated by the body in accordance with the body’s development stage. Drugs containing growth hormone are synthetic products made by recombinant human gene technology (hGH = human growth hormone), which is used in a number of diseases, including increasing height for teenagers in the afternoon. Moderately high, but when tested low blood GH levels, but also limited. For children with modest height but not due to lack of GH, using hGH is not effective. When using hGH in high or prolonged doses, it will cause many side effects such as fluid retention, edema, swelling of fingers, gynecomastia (male), headache, drowsiness, swelling of joint pain, bloating. Long-term use of hGH, especially in people who have reached the end of their development period, can cause enlargement of the extremities, increased frequency of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal melanoma …

Therefore, parents should consult a doctor before using drugs or supplements for their children, especially not to use growth hormone to increase height without a doctor’s prescription.

Currently, some types of machinery are advertised for their height-increasing effects. However, these types of machines actually only work as children who exercise.

When the child reaches the stage when the growth cartilage turns into bone and no longer has the process of calcification occurs, then on the X-ray film, there is no image of the light of growth cartilage, at this time the child has reached the age of growing and not are there any measures that can increase height beyond leg lengthening surgery?

According to: Doctor Nguyen Van Luong – Department of General Trauma General Orthopedics Army Central Hospital 108.

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