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Can A Mother’s Depression Affect Her Child’s Height?

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Source: KDKA-TV) Dr. Maria Simbra
Dr. Maria Simbra is an Emmy award-winning medical journalist, who...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A study in the journal Pediatrics says a mom’s mood may correlate with her child’s height.

Following a representative sample of more than 10,000 children across the U.S. born in 2001, researchers looked at mothers who reported symptoms of depression at nine months and the height and weight of the kids at ages 4 and 5.

For moms with moderate to severe levels of depression, there was a 40 percent increased odds of their kids being at or under the 10th percentile for height.

“It’s still a part of normal, but it’s not the median or 50th percentile,” Dr. TaTanisha Smith, a pediatrician at Allegheny General Hospital, reassures.

It’s thought perhaps depression leads to poor feeding practices and increased stress, and therefore height is impacted. But that doesn’t completely explain it, since not all growth measures were affected the same.

“The first thing you think of is weight, and actually looking at the article, weight was actually normalized, but it was the height that showed a difference,” says Dr. Smith.

While the reasons aren’t clear, the implication is that many factors may influence how we grow.

Her advice, “You can only be the best parent you can if you’re taking care of yourself.”

It’s not clear yet if the trend persists into adulthood and while being smaller than peers can be a factor in what your child is able to do physically at a certain age, there’s nothing inherently wrong or unhealthy about being short.

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