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Delayed Growth in a Teen Boy

By Martha Holden ; Updated April 18, 2017
Teen boys need proper nutrition for proper growth.

Delayed growth affects your teen’s growth and development by impairing his height or weight gain, or his sexual development. A growth disorder can be tough on a teen boy because it can affect his self-esteem and body image. Although you don’t have control over the changes that your teen boy experiences, you can ensure a proper growth through a healthy diet, encouraging exercise and working with a doctor when you notice any unusual growth patterns. Several factors or conditions can cause delayed growth in a teen boy.

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Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not secrete enough growth hormones. In teens, it can cause delayed development and poor growth. According to MayoClinic.com, teens who develop hypothyroidism exhibit delayed puberty. Symptoms can include dry skin, a hoarse voice, a puffy face, impaired memory and constipation.

ADHD Medication

Teens who are on stimulant medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can have slowed physical development, according to a study published in the “Medical Journal of Australia” in January 2013. The study was done on boys ages 12 to 16 years on stimulant-treated ADHD for at least three years. The results also revealed that delayed development increases with the dose of stimulant medication. Boys under the medication were significantly behind their peers in pubertal development and height.

Malnutrition

One of the most common causes of delayed growth is malnutrition caused by eating disorders or medication. Your teen needs nutrients such as vitamin A, B-6, C, D and E, and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium and zinc for proper growth and development. For example, he needs calcium and vitamin D to build bones toward his adult health. Data from a report published on the “Pediatrics and Children Health” journal in January 2008 indicates that for early onset eating disorders, boys are more affected than girls.

Sickle Cell Anemia

Another cause of delayed growth in teen boys is sickle cell anemia. According to a study published in the journal of “Pediatric Blood Cancer” in October 2009, teens who have sickle cell anemia experience growth delays during puberty. The study attributes that to a lower hemoglobin concentration in the teens and increased energy expenditure.

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About the Author

Martha Holden began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous publications. Holden holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Houston.

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