Height is nature’s early warning signal — a potential visual alarm for parents and physicians. Growth can be an overall sign of the health and physical development of a child, but when children aren’t growing properly, it may be an indication of a treatable medical condition.
During Growth Awareness Week, Sept. 19-25, The MAGIC Foundation (Major Aspects of Growth in Children) is working to draw attention to the issue of children’s growth through its website, magicfoundation.org, and on its social media sites.
Mary Andrews, Magic Foundation CEO and co-founder, started the organization in 1989 with other mothers who had all struggled to find answers to growth challenges their children faced.
“We were a small group of moms who knew we could make a difference for other families,” Andrews said. “We did not want others to face the unknown; we knew they needed information about growth and growth disorders to make their paths easier.”
Andrews underwent a three-year medical journey before her son, Deno, was finally diagnosed with growth failure.
“I kept asking why he was not growing like he should. I asked why his peers were so much taller than him. I asked why his baby sister of two years was now taller than he was. I asked why he was not outgrowing his clothes and shoes,” she added. “Yet, the answer was always, ‘He will grow in his own due time.’ Not true, as I now know!”
Andrews’ full story can be found at https://www.magicfoundation.org/mary-andrews/.
Today, MAGIC is the leading worldwide organization for growth disorders in children and adult endocrine disorders. Teresa Tucker, co-founder and patient advocate, is optimistic about the strides made since the organization’s inception.
“New genetic testing is allowing children to be diagnosed with disorders that previously were thought to be ultra-rare,” she said.
Andrews urges parents to consider the following questions as signs their children may require medical assistance:
- Is your child growing a minimum of 2 inches per year after the age of three until the beginning of puberty?
- Is your child not outgrowing their clothes and shoes?
- Is your child much shorter than his or her peers?
- Is your child crossing the percentile curve on a growth chart, either in a downward or upward motion?
The dissemination of information is important, as early detection and diagnoses are critical. Growth affects much more than height. Serious problems relating to heart strength, blood sugar control, lung capacity, bone density, immune system function, metabolism and much more can all be impacted by growth disorders.