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Physical Development of Child | Factors Affecting Physical Development of Child


What is Physical Development of Child ?


Meaning of Physical development

The physical development of a person includes the development of external and internal organs of his body. 

From birth to puberty, body weight and height increase and sometimes it happens very fast or sometimes very slowly. 

A child's height from the time they are born to their first birthday becomes 1½ times. 

During this time the body weight increases four times. This growth is rapid in infancy and slows down in childhood. This speed again accelerates in adolescence. 

The main aspects of physical development are as follows:


(i) Anatomy - Many internal and external organs and muscles develop in the process of physical development. 

There is a difference in the rate of growth at different stages of maturity. 

Body composition – growth and maturation of nervous system, respiratory system, digestive system etc. are related to each other.

General physical development - Physical development should generally be the same. It is closely related to mental development. Normally physical development takes place in four areas -

(a) Nervous system

(b) Muscles

(c) Endocrine glands

(d) Body size.


Different physical development - Physical development happens differently in each person. This variation is found in the form of body height. When the endocrine glands do not function properly, it has a direct effect on the body composition, stature, etc.

Growth Cycle - Growth cycle refers to the rate of growth with dynamic. The cycle of growth does not always follow any one rule. Some years the pace of development is fast and some years it is slow.

(i) Body height - Body height refers to physical height and weight. Together these two give a definite shape to development.


(ii) Height - At the time of birth, the height of the child is about 20 inches. The length of boys is half an inch more at the time of birth than that of girls. 

There is a slowing down of the child's height till the stage of maturity. At the age of 12, a normal child becomes 55 inches tall. Between the ages of 10 and 14, the physical development of girls is more rapid than that of boys. 

Height increases to the maximum extent of boys by the age of 1 year. Heredity, race, socio-economic status and living conditions have an effect in determining the height of children.

(iii) Weight - The weight of the infant at birth varies from about 5 to 8 pounds (about 2 to 4 kg). At the end of the first year, the child's weight is 5 times more than the birth weight. 

At maturity, the weight of the child usually ranges from 70 to 90 pounds. The weight of the child depends on the nature of his body.


Types of size - Generally there are three types of size of children -

(a) Normal

(b) Fat

(c) Lean

Person's weight depends on the nature of all three.

(iv) Variation in body shape - The shape of the body is taken care of from the birth of the child. As he grows up, this difference becomes more apparent in him. Birth weight assumes a proportional form over the years of development.

(v) Body Proportions - The body at birth differs to a great extent in proportion to the adult body. Maximum changes and proportions are found in arms and legs. 

This proportion of the body can be expressed as follows:


(a) Head: After birth, the head of the child grows proportionately. From birth to maturity, the length of the child's head doubles. 

The head area increases from five years of age to 95% of the adult's head by the age of 10 years. 

The ratio of head length and width is found to be similar in boys and girls.

(b) Face - By the age of eight, the structure of the face becomes much larger than at birth. 

Maturity and permanent teeth start coming out and in this process the chin, jaw, mouth, nose and its internal organs develop comparatively. 

The brain develops rapidly. Along with the development of age, the forehead also becomes broad.


(c) Torso - The proportion of its torso is expressed by the development of hands and organs. During the development of the trunk, there is also time for the bones of the chest and kidneys to become strong.

(d) Arms and legs - The hands and feet of the newborn, the fingers are short. Their development is complete by 14-16 years. 

Arms also continue to develop till this age. There is a certainty in the proportion of the height and size of the feet of the child.

(e) Bones - The bones of a child are smaller and softer than those of an adult. Gradually their shape keeps on changing and many new bones develop. 

At the time of birth, there are 270 bones in the baby. Perfection on its own has 350 bones in it. Then some bones are finished and their number remains 206 by the pre-mature stage.


(f) Muscles and fat - From the beginning, the growth of fat fibers is more intense than that of muscle fibers. The weight of the body is developed by the muscles. In childhood, there is more water in the muscles. 

Gradually the amount of water starts decreasing and solid fibers start developing, firmness starts coming in it. Fat starts increasing due to the consumption of fat-rich foods.

(g) Teeth - Temporary and permanent teeth are found in children. The number of temporary teeth is 30 and the number of permanent teeth is 32. 

Temporary teeth definitely come from the third month to the sixth month. These teeth come completely by the age of five to six years. 

When temporary teeth fall out, permanent teeth take their place. Permanent teeth continue to emerge till the age of 25 years.


(vi) Internal organs - The development of internal organs of the body also takes place in many forms. This development takes place in blood circulation, digestive system and respiratory system. 

Digestive organs are soft in childhood. They become hard in adulthood. The size of the nervous system also varies with age. 

Under internal development, the organization of nervous system, work, balance of consciousness and sexual functions, breathing system and development of bladder and reproductive organs are also there. 

The development of the brain also takes place under the development of the internal organs.


Factors Affecting Physical Development of Child 

The health of the child is closely related to his physical development. Properly or improperly organized recreation, rest, unhealthy food, poorly ventilated residence, faulty heredity, etc. are the hindrances to physical development. 

The following are the main factors affecting physical development :

[1] Heredity - The development of the child depends on the qualities and abilities available in heredity. 

With the conception, the paternal cells start in the child and from here the limits of growth and development of the child are ensured. 

These ancestral qualities are passed on from generation to generation. 

Hereditary characteristics affect the height, shape, intelligence, character etc. of the child.


Special points - 

(i) The color, shape, length, other physical characteristics of the creature, intelligence, logic, memory and other mental abilities are determined by heredity. 

(ii) The inheritance of the child lies in the color of the mother and the semen of the father. At the time of conception, genes are combined in different ways. 

These genes are the carriers of heredity. Therefore, variation is seen in the children of the same parent, this is called the law of variation. 

(iii) According to the law of regression , the offspring of talented parents also tend to be of low growth.

According to psychologists, the following things come mainly for the family tradition for the personality development of the child.


(i) Basic instincts

(ii) General innate instincts

(iii) Motivating factors

(iv) Emotions

(v) Nervous system

(vi) Reflex actions

(vii) Sense organs

(viii) Temperament

(ix) Mental ability

(x) Physical build (height)

Analysis by psychologists of the effects of heredity on development -

(i) According to Goddard- "The children of low intelligence parents are retarded and the children of high intelligence parents are of high intelligence."


(ii) According to Dugdale - "The character of parents also has an impact on their child. The effect of hereditary factors can be clearly seen in the character of a person."

[2] Atmosphere - The elements of the environment are helpful or hinder in the natural development of the child. 

The main elements of environment are pure air, sufficient sunlight, cleanliness, neighborhood, residence etc.

Every component included in the environment affects the life of a person from the very beginning. 

Many types of events from pregnancy till life affect the personality and development of a person. 

During pregnancy, every woman is advised to maintain mental and physical health because it not only affects the child growing inside the womb, but also strengthens the foundation for further development.


Every incident that happens in life affects the life of the child in one way or the other. 

If the child is treated smoothly and properly, then the speed of his development is right, otherwise his development is adversely affected. 

If children live in narrow streets and closed houses, then they lose their health by falling prey to some disease or the other and their development is severely affected. 

Overall, environment means its entire environment, living conditions etc. have an impact on development.

[3] Social and economic factors - The child's development, that is, his physical development is also affected by his social and economic factors. 


Children from poor families get limited opportunities for development. Their economic weakness is unable to provide them good education and good environment and proper nutritious food. 

Due to which the physical development of the child gets stunted along with other developments.

(4) Lack of nutritious food - This is an effective factor affecting the physical development of the child. 

In most parts of India, children do not get enough nutritious food, due to which they become victims of malnutrition and their physical development is stunted.


[5] Regular Routine - Regular routine is the cornerstone of good health. The time for eating, sleeping, playing, studying etc. should be fixed for the child. 

Having a regular routine in all these works has a favorable effect on the health of the children; otherwise, in case of adverse effect, the child's physical development is also affected.

[6] Sleep and rest - Sleep and rest are essential elements for the healthy development of the body. 12 hours to 18 hours of sleep is sufficient for an infant and 8 and 10 hours of sleep in childhood and adolescence respectively.


[7] Love, sympathy and security - The basis of proper physical development of the child is love. If he does not get the necessary love from his parents, he starts feeling unhappy. 

If the child's parents die at a young age, then he has to face unbearable hardships. The development of his body stops. 

Along with this, the child also needs adequate sympathy. If he gets sympathy from time to time along with love, then that child starts becoming physically strong.

For the proper development of a child or a child, it should have a sense of security. 

In the absence of this possibility, he starts feeling fear and loses his confidence. 

The above things block the path of his development.


[8] Sports and Exercise - Sports and exercise have special importance for the physical development of the child. 

We see that even while lying in the bed or cradle, a child completes its exercise by moving its arms and legs. 

In childhood and adolescence, sports and exercise play an important role in the physical development of the child. 

Therefore, in their absence, adequate physical development does not take place.

[9] Disease and accident - Any kind of disease blocks the physical development of the child's physical development. 

Prolonged illness of a child blocks his physical development. 

Similarly, lying in bed for a long time due to an accident hinders the physical development of children.


[10] Climate - The climate of a place affects child development. If the climate is perfect, then the physical constitution is of the best quality. 

We see that people living in different countries or regions are tall according to the climate there.

[11] Bad habits and traditions - Some bad habits and traditions spread in the society like child-marriage, widow-shaving etc. hinder the development of children. 

Early marriage has adverse effects on child development. Sometimes due to certain traditions one has to fall prey to diseases.


[12] Endocrine glands - There are many endocrine glands in the child's body, out of which special types of juices are secreted. 

These juices affect the development of the child. If these glands do not secrete juice properly, then the development of the child gets stunted. 

For example, thyroxin juice from the thyroid gland affects the height of the child; if this juice is not secreted properly, the child remains dwarf. 

The secretion of the parathyroid gland leads to the development of bones and teeth and sensory development and behavior also depend on this secretion. 

Manifestation of masculinity like moustache, heavy voice and femininity on the gonad glands is due to this.


[13] Gender - Gender difference also has an effect in the physical and mental development of the child. 

At the time of birth, the size of the children is large. But later the physical development of girls happens at a rapid pace. 

Similarly, mental and sexual maturity in girls comes before boys.

[14] Race - As mentioned in the point of climate, people living in different regions or countries have different types of body constitution. 

That is, differences are found in the development of children due to racial influence. 

Studies have shown that children from Mediterranean regions develop at a faster rate than those from Northern Europe.

Characteristics of Adolescence