The Surprising Reason Why Some Children are Shorter
According to a new study published in the medical journal Pediatrics mothers who suffer depression after pregnancy are more likely to have short kids.
To reach this conclusion, researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health used the US Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort (2001-2007), which tracked kids from birth to age 6. They found that infants were 40 percent more likely to be in the bottom 10 percent for height if their mothers had suffered from postpartum depression, and that this percentage jumps to 48 when the kids reach age 5.
The researchers made sure to caution that this doesn’t necessarily prove that a mom’s depression causes children to be short, only that the two are clearly associated. Theories as to why this might be include maternal depression leading to height-stunting stress in kids and that depressed moms may have poorer feeding practices.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five moms suffers some kind of postpartum mental illness.
While the study didn’t explore whether children of depressed moms are shorter as adults, there seems to be some general correlation between how tall a kid is around age 2 and how tall he eventually becomes.