Minds aren’t the only things expanding during the school year: New research shows that children actually grow taller when school is in session compared to the summer months.
Studies have shown that children’s weight essentially increases at the same rate throughout the year -- though children are more likely to become more overweight during the summer, probably due to changes in activity and diet.
But when it comes to the rate of growth in children’s height, there seems to be some variation depending on what month it is.
According to a study published in May in Frontiers in Physiology, children grow taller at a slightly faster rate between September and April than they do between April and September. In the study, a cohort of children were measured twice each year starting in kindergarten and ending after fifth grade, and the data indicated a “seasonality in children’s height gain,” the study reads.
Though the data showed a difference in height gain during different times of the year, researchers say that more research with “more frequent measurements is needed to better understand the seasonal regulation of children’s growth and weight gain.” Meaning: The cause of this difference in vertical growth is not entirely clear.
However, the study did reference another study from 2019 that found a potential connection between child weight gain and the circadian clock.
Researchers think that children’s increased height gain during the school year may be related to their exposure to the light/dark cycle, which is different each season and regulates a person’s circadian rhythm. It is believed that changing the child’s exposure to the light/dark cycle could interfere with the secretion of certain hormones, affecting their growth.