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HIGHER EDUCATION

This is the time of year when kids grow faster and it may surprise you

CHILDREN grow faster during the school year, experts have discovered.

They shoot up an extra half a millimetre a month on average between September and April while classes are still in full swing, researchers say.

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Kids shoot up an extra half a millimetre a month on average during the school year, experts revealCredit: Shutterstock

One theory is they eat better in term-time, helping to gain height.

Previous research has shown children in Britain pile on the pounds over the summer holidays, when the proportion of overweight children rises from 20 per cent to 24 per cent.

Experts fear it is down to too much time in front of screens and eating more junk food over the six-week break — with children ­staring at TVs, tablets and computers for almost twice as long as normal.

Now, a US study has found height gains slowed over the summer break, with tubby children worst hit.

Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, found overweight or obese youngsters grew a millimetre a month less than usual over the summer than during the school year.

The study, published in Frontiers in Physiology, followed more than 3,500 youngsters for five years.

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Researcher Dr Jennette Moreno said: “This study indicates seasonality in children’s height gain, gaining height faster during a school year compared to the summer.”

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, warned the six-week UK summer holiday was too long.

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He said: “The current set-up is far from the best for our children’s health, with many putting on weight over summer.

“The real problem is that children are off for six weeks but parents are not, meaning they often struggle to offer them a balanced, healthy diet, which has knock-on effects.”

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