3 minute read

Human Growth and Development

The process of human growth and development is described by various set of principles. These principles explain typical development as a predictable and orderly process. Therefore we can easily foretell how most children will develop even though there are differences in children’s qualities, behavior, activity levels, and timing of developmental milestones. To understand human growth and development, we need to understand nature and nurture, and the relationship between the two.

Factors Which Influence Human Growth and Development

The following are a list of factors which influence human growth and development:


  • Heredity: Heredity and genes certainly play an important role in the transmission of physical and social characteristics from parents to off-springs. Different characteristics of growth and development like intelligence, aptitudes, body structure, height, weight, color of hair and eyes are highly influenced by heredity.

  • Sex: Sex is a very important factor which influences human growth and development. There is lot of difference in growth and development between girls and boys. Physical growth of girls in teens is faster than boys. Overall the body structure and growth of girls are different from boys.

  • Socioeconomic: Socioeconomic factors definitely have some affect. It has been seen that the children from different socioeconomic levels vary in average body size at all ages. The upper level families being always more advanced. The most important reasons behind this are better nutrition, better facilities, regular meals, sleep, and exercise. Family size also influences growth rate as in big families with limited income sometimes have children that do not get the proper nutrition and hence the growth is affected.

  • Nutritional: Growth is directly related with nutrition. The human body requires an adequate supply of calories for its normal growth and this need of requirements vary with the phase of development. As per studies, malnutrition is referred as a large-scale problem in many developing countries. They are more likely to be underweight, much shorter than average, and of low height for age, known as stunting.
    If the children are malnourished, this slows their growth process. There are nine different amino acids which are necessary for growth and absence of any one will give rise to stunted growth. Other factors like zinc, Iodine, calcium, phosphorus and vitamins are also essential for proper growth and deficiency of anyone can affect the normal growth and development of the body.

  • Hormones: There are a large number of endocrine glands present inside our body. These glands secrete one or more hormones directly into the bloodstream. These hormones are capable of raising or lowering the activity level of the body or some organs of the body. Hormones are considered to be a growth supporting substance. These hormones play an important role in regulating the process of growth and development.

  • Pollution: According to studies, air pollution not only affects the respiratory organs but also have harmful effects on human growth.
    Indoor pollution or the pollution from housing conditions can result in ill health which can negatively impact human growth and development. For example, lead exposure from deteriorated lead-based paint in older housing can be very harmful. Lead is very harmful for children as it simply gets immersed into the growing bodies of children and obstructs with the normal development of brain and other organs and systems.

  • Race: Racial factors also influence height, weight, color, features, and body constitution of a human being. The body growth and development differences show a relationship with varied cultural groups. For example a child of black race will be black, their height, their hair and eye color, facial structure are all governed by the same race.

Additional topics

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comCommon College Courses