3

votes

Can being too lean as a growing teen stunt height/puberty?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 14, 2012 at 12:39 AM

I aM a girl and i pretty much eat paleo but its not like im SUPER strict or anything because i dont let food control my life. Anyway, im healthy and all BUT im super short. Ive been 4'6 since about fourth grade and now im 14. Its terrible for me. I also havent hit puberty. Ive talked to a doctor with my family and shes running tests on me and says im healthy and doesnt know why im so short.my mom is 5'3 and dad is 5'9 amd gramdma is 4'11. Am i just gonna be like my grandma??? Shouldnt i be like my mom??? What can i eat/do to help me grow. I am very fit. For a few months i even had a 6 pack (but i think it was unhealthy so im eating more fat now). Sorry long question and lots of mini questions inside. O and i should add im not underweight but mostly all my weight is muscle even though im female.

A7925ab8ea44e6d4d5d7c6f202632c6c

(404)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:34 AM

@Rose well, if we assume the legitimacy of fasting (resting your digestive system at least for certain periods) -> secretion of growth hormone concept, we may say that those children "grow, grow, grow" not despite "hardly" eating but rather 'thanks / due to' such a habit: an analogy would be so called french paradox, when it is not people living longer despite high fat consumption but (probably) rather owing to it... as for a different dimension of the issue: sugar does indeed stunts growth (i wish i had not indulged in so many candies when i was a child - could have grown up taller *sighs*)

3d0d22a4d1bb9e021cc11a960bd4e4b6

(35)

on August 15, 2012
at 10:44 PM

Good to know! Sometimes if i see im gaining weight and not getting taller i just remember that itsperfectly OK and means i might be ready to grow. However usually the weight just dissapears after a couple days being normal fluctuation.

3d0d22a4d1bb9e021cc11a960bd4e4b6

(35)

on August 15, 2012
at 10:39 PM

Thanks for your opinion igel, but i agree withsome of the commenters abiut not fasting. I would be too hungry and the one bit of advice that i got from the doc. Was to NOT skimp on food. However, i think it is weird how some children hardly eat and seem to grow grow grow!

Medium avatar

(4878)

on August 14, 2012
at 10:57 PM

Rose, what is your weight? Believe me you have no idea where I'm going with this...

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 14, 2012
at 10:51 PM

Thanks for the feedback JennyJ. I see what you mean. My daughter started growing breasts at 10 and started her period one week before age 11. While that was normal for her peer group and the times. I viewed it as early and less than optimal. That is what I meant really - optimal. Shoulda used that rather than normal. Thanks for your kind feedback.

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on August 14, 2012
at 10:50 PM

May be true but I'm more of the philosophy to eat when hungry, especially for children with great metabolisms like Rose who are probably hungry for a LOT of food throughout the day. Forcing oneself to fast (especially if hungry) could be negative for a child.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 14, 2012
at 10:43 PM

Rose thanks for clarifying that. That was a typo in my comment to Marie. I meant to say "she said she is NOT underweight..." Anyway good luck. I personally don't think the number on your scale is pertinent here but others disagree. Its true that if you are too low body fat you may delay the start of menstruation. All the best.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on August 14, 2012
at 10:41 PM

It's not just hormones in food- the absence of fathers (no need to delay menses to prevent incest), higher nutritional status, and many other factors contribute to people entering puberty earlier. I like your answer to a point, but I think calling anyone "not normal" can make women/girls/mothers/fathers feel guilty about their daughters/themselves going through puberty earlier. I mean, I did the whole grow-up-on-a-farm-no-processed-food-and-well-water thing, and started puberty really early (9), and don't like to think of myself as "not normal".

3d0d22a4d1bb9e021cc11a960bd4e4b6

(35)

on August 14, 2012
at 10:23 PM

Looks like there was a little misunderstanding, so im just reminding everyone that i said and still am NOT underweight just have a high muscle to fat ratio rather. My dooctor says im a very good healthy weight.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 14, 2012
at 05:46 PM

@Marie - Im sorry for the way I worded that. I did not think you were getting at AN rather that she has low body fat. My point is that she already said she is underweight and high muscle (low Bf) so the exact number on the scale seems irrelevant, imo. The number wont add anything to helping this girl.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 14, 2012
at 05:42 PM

@MathGirl. Why the personal attack? If you disagree with my comment why not just say so, why make it personal?

Medium avatar

(4878)

on August 14, 2012
at 02:04 PM

@Crowlover - Yes, I do need to know her weight and it has nothing to do with AN, if that's what you are getting at...

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 14, 2012
at 01:39 PM

@Crowlover, so you get to decide what information Marie thinks is pertinent? Geez, allow someone to major in child psychobabble and they think they are in charge....

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 14, 2012
at 07:06 AM

My husband and sons were the same. Very late puberty and growth. Don't worry, keep eating a lot and don't exercise too much. Listen to your mother! lol She sounds smart. Also Rose you do not need to answer any questions about what you eat in a day or your weight. Those details make no sense your question and they aren't details that are necessary here, especially when you are under the care of a a doctor. All the best to you!

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 14, 2012
at 06:38 AM

Marie you do not need to know her weight. She said she is underweight and low body fat. Its not necessary information based on what she provided and she has talked to a doctor.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 14, 2012
at 06:36 AM

like you said igel, you don't know how it works during adolescence. This is not good advice for this young woman at all. She make in fact need more food and less exercise. Please read her Question again.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on August 14, 2012
at 05:29 AM

How much do you weigh?

A7925ab8ea44e6d4d5d7c6f202632c6c

(404)

on August 14, 2012
at 05:25 AM

@Young looking back at my childhood, people i grew up with, and was growing up with, i can now say that those who were not very affluent, and thus were not always fed (they were not starving of course, just were less able to buy snacks for example) grew up more taller and sturdy... i also know a guy, who grew up in the far eastern part of russia, having sort of a wild 'paleo' life there, and feeding on hu--ge amounts of wild salmon, so, he is about 2 m. of height (he also tells they had a dog, nothing special, but they fed him salmon, and he grew to be as huge as a small bear), so EAT SALMON!

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on August 14, 2012
at 03:32 AM

I dont know if fasting would be ideal for an adolescent. It can also promote cortisol secretion...

3d0d22a4d1bb9e021cc11a960bd4e4b6

(35)

on August 14, 2012
at 02:36 AM

Thank you for your reassurring advice. My mother keeps telling me that its my genetics--my dad was 4'11 til 12th grade andthe he shot up. But shouldnt i be 4'11 then? Plus im a girl, and i guess we're supposed to grow faster than guys.

3d0d22a4d1bb9e021cc11a960bd4e4b6

(35)

on August 14, 2012
at 02:33 AM

Yes, im a competitive swimmer. Used to swim 2.5 hrs. A day several months ago but have cut it back to 1.5 hrs. 4-5 days a week for health purposes. I also used to do 3 days of strength training--cut that out a couple months ago too. Its just hard for me to. See friend after friend shoot way past me and i am confused for the little sister now at events even when im several months older.

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on August 14, 2012
at 12:44 AM

Provide us with a day of eating so we can see if you are eating enough. Activity would be helpful too.

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5 Answers

3
4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

on August 14, 2012
at 01:37 AM

Rose good for you for being so on top of things at your age. Very wise.

Im glad you are talking to your doctor so that you won't worry because you are going to go through puberty at the optimal/normal time - how it used to be before girls ingested a bunch of hormones in food and started growing breasts at age 11. That is not normal

You are normal.

And if you need growth hormones then you can get them so do not worry and keep eating enough food and healthy food.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 14, 2012
at 07:06 AM

My husband and sons were the same. Very late puberty and growth. Don't worry, keep eating a lot and don't exercise too much. Listen to your mother! lol She sounds smart. Also Rose you do not need to answer any questions about what you eat in a day or your weight. Those details make no sense your question and they aren't details that are necessary here, especially when you are under the care of a a doctor. All the best to you!

3d0d22a4d1bb9e021cc11a960bd4e4b6

(35)

on August 14, 2012
at 02:36 AM

Thank you for your reassurring advice. My mother keeps telling me that its my genetics--my dad was 4'11 til 12th grade andthe he shot up. But shouldnt i be 4'11 then? Plus im a girl, and i guess we're supposed to grow faster than guys.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on August 14, 2012
at 10:41 PM

It's not just hormones in food- the absence of fathers (no need to delay menses to prevent incest), higher nutritional status, and many other factors contribute to people entering puberty earlier. I like your answer to a point, but I think calling anyone "not normal" can make women/girls/mothers/fathers feel guilty about their daughters/themselves going through puberty earlier. I mean, I did the whole grow-up-on-a-farm-no-processed-food-and-well-water thing, and started puberty really early (9), and don't like to think of myself as "not normal".

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 14, 2012
at 10:51 PM

Thanks for the feedback JennyJ. I see what you mean. My daughter started growing breasts at 10 and started her period one week before age 11. While that was normal for her peer group and the times. I viewed it as early and less than optimal. That is what I meant really - optimal. Shoulda used that rather than normal. Thanks for your kind feedback.

2
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on August 14, 2012
at 10:36 PM

My grandma is 4'11 too, and my mom is 5'2, dad 5'9. Short family, but I grew to 5'3 in grade 6 and stayed that height until I was 19 and squeaked another inch into the deal and am now 5'4. My brother, on the other hand was 5' until he turned 16, when he slowly started to grow and eventually hit 5'7 by 19. My other bro made 5'8 by 14 and stuck at that height. My point is, we obviously have the same genetic pool and, gender differences aside, had very different experiences in how/when our growth spurts happened. You are still very young and have plenty of growing to do! I think it is smart that the doctor is checking to make sure everything is alright (there's always a couple odd cases where something is inhibiting growth hormone, and no one wants to be that case so it's good to eliminate the possibility).

With your body composition- it makes sense that you don't have a lot of extra weight, as an athlete and someone still in the midst of puberty being lean and muscular is nothing unusual. If you do gain weight though, don't let yourself get all worked up- lots of people gain a bit of weight right before a growth spurt. Your body shape and distribution will probably change as you continue right through to your 20's. I had very small breasts into my 20's, and my hips are still filling out as I approach 21. Body changes and growth do not end in the relatively small window that is puberty!

3d0d22a4d1bb9e021cc11a960bd4e4b6

(35)

on August 15, 2012
at 10:44 PM

Good to know! Sometimes if i see im gaining weight and not getting taller i just remember that itsperfectly OK and means i might be ready to grow. However usually the weight just dissapears after a couple days being normal fluctuation.

2
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on August 14, 2012
at 01:03 AM

I wouldn't worry too much, but it's good you're looking into this. Yes, having lower body fat will 'delay' puberty - but given a healthy diet and adequate calories, I do not think this is a bad thing to a point - especially considering all the research about the increased risks that women who go through puberty early are subject to.

Are you an athlete? One thing I would suggest to let your body use more 'extra' for growing, is cutting back on exercise, if you are training a great deal.

I've always been super lean for a girl, still am (I'm 27 now), I've had a six pack my whole life. I didn't get my first period until I was almost 15, or finish growing in height until I was 17. I am perfectly normal and fertile. My sister went through puberty at a more average age, but then she proceeded to grow 7" between 12 and 19! There is a ton of variation in healthy girls/women.

3d0d22a4d1bb9e021cc11a960bd4e4b6

(35)

on August 14, 2012
at 02:33 AM

Yes, im a competitive swimmer. Used to swim 2.5 hrs. A day several months ago but have cut it back to 1.5 hrs. 4-5 days a week for health purposes. I also used to do 3 days of strength training--cut that out a couple months ago too. Its just hard for me to. See friend after friend shoot way past me and i am confused for the little sister now at events even when im several months older.

1
6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

on August 14, 2012
at 10:19 AM

Don't worry. One of mm daughters did not hit puberty until 14 and now is taller than I am or her sister is. My mother hit puberty at 10 (!) and was the shortest of us all.

You just need to wait and you have sensibly seen the doctor. Keep eating a healthy diet and exercising.

-1
A7925ab8ea44e6d4d5d7c6f202632c6c

(404)

on August 14, 2012
at 02:29 AM

[(just my two yen)]

don't know how that works during adolescence but it is said that fasting / physical activity during fasting induces release of growth hormone: so, for a starter - and rather to be on safe side providing your age - how about skipping breakfast from time to time doing some athletics in the meanwhile (stuff like running or whatever...), and consuming the same or higher amount of calories / nutrition afterwards?

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 14, 2012
at 06:36 AM

like you said igel, you don't know how it works during adolescence. This is not good advice for this young woman at all. She make in fact need more food and less exercise. Please read her Question again.

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on August 14, 2012
at 10:50 PM

May be true but I'm more of the philosophy to eat when hungry, especially for children with great metabolisms like Rose who are probably hungry for a LOT of food throughout the day. Forcing oneself to fast (especially if hungry) could be negative for a child.

A7925ab8ea44e6d4d5d7c6f202632c6c

(404)

on August 14, 2012
at 05:25 AM

@Young looking back at my childhood, people i grew up with, and was growing up with, i can now say that those who were not very affluent, and thus were not always fed (they were not starving of course, just were less able to buy snacks for example) grew up more taller and sturdy... i also know a guy, who grew up in the far eastern part of russia, having sort of a wild 'paleo' life there, and feeding on hu--ge amounts of wild salmon, so, he is about 2 m. of height (he also tells they had a dog, nothing special, but they fed him salmon, and he grew to be as huge as a small bear), so EAT SALMON!

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on August 14, 2012
at 03:32 AM

I dont know if fasting would be ideal for an adolescent. It can also promote cortisol secretion...

3d0d22a4d1bb9e021cc11a960bd4e4b6

(35)

on August 15, 2012
at 10:39 PM

Thanks for your opinion igel, but i agree withsome of the commenters abiut not fasting. I would be too hungry and the one bit of advice that i got from the doc. Was to NOT skimp on food. However, i think it is weird how some children hardly eat and seem to grow grow grow!

A7925ab8ea44e6d4d5d7c6f202632c6c

(404)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:34 AM

@Rose well, if we assume the legitimacy of fasting (resting your digestive system at least for certain periods) -> secretion of growth hormone concept, we may say that those children "grow, grow, grow" not despite "hardly" eating but rather 'thanks / due to' such a habit: an analogy would be so called french paradox, when it is not people living longer despite high fat consumption but (probably) rather owing to it... as for a different dimension of the issue: sugar does indeed stunts growth (i wish i had not indulged in so many candies when i was a child - could have grown up taller *sighs*)

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