Height growth can be stunted by any number of variables, ranging from malnutrition to smoking. The result can be a significant decrease in body height, which is often not remediable.
Typically, height growth is considered stunted if a child's height falls below the fifth percentile for that child's age group.
Improper Nutrition in Childhood
To grow properly, children require essential vitamins and nutrients, including calcium. When these needs are not met, the body compensates by limiting growth.
If a pregnant woman fails to consume enough essential vitamins and nutrients, generally provided through a proper diet and prenatal vitamin supplements, the fetus can suffer. This can result in stunted growth even after the child is born.
Height is largely hereditary, so if both the father and mother are short, a child is likely to be short as well. In this case, the height is considered stunted even if it is not problematic if it falls below the 5th percentile for an age group.
Caffeine is often considered a cause of stunted growth. Children are advised not to consume beverages high in caffeine, including coffee and some sodas.