Factors affecting human growth and development

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Genetic inheritance...The body contains two sets of twenty three chromosomes, one set from each parent. Each chromosome can contain up to four thousand different genes. A person's genes are responsible for the illnesses and diseases that they develop during their lifetime. This is because risk of getting conditions like heart disease cancers and strokes can be inherited. You can also get ill due to life style choice.

Illness and disease...Many illnesses we experience are short term. However, some can have serious consequences. Genetic diseases, such as haemophilia, down's syndrome and cystic fibrosis impact a persons growth and development. It can affect other aspects of development, not just physical, but a person's social relationships, emotional distress and destroy their intellectual abilities.

Diet...Depending on what we eat our body’s will be different. Sugary and fatty foods can lead to becoming obese and overweight. this can harm a child's physical development and reduce opportunities for exercise. A child being obese can lead to social and emotional problems. Being teased or bullied for being 'fat' may have a negative effect on a child's self-esteem. They may also have negative self-image that also inhibits their self-confidence.

The onset of puberty during adolescence results in a physical growth spurt that has to be fuelled by a diet of regular, balanced meals. However, at the same time people (especially girls) become more conscious of how they look and don't eat properly. In some instances this can result in the development of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. These conditions tend to develop in response to the fear of being called fat. This can cause long term physical damage.

For adults their dietary needs will depend on how much energy they require for their work and everyday life. A person who does not have a balanced diet may develop health problems because they lack vital nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. Or may become obese, or develop heart disease or diabetes.

Exercise...Exercise improves self-esteem. Improves circulation. Gives better stamina. Builds up immunity. Gives us more confidence. Relieves stress. Gives better mobility. Strengthens Muscles. Improves heart health.

Alcohol...Alcohol can have social benefits when controlled properly. It can promote emotional and social development. However, a child whose mother drinks alcohol while she is pregnant may develop foetal alcohol syndrome. FAS. FAS reduces your growth. Gives abnormal facial features. Gives central nervous system abnormalities. Impared learning and memory skills. Behaviour problems. FAS is the most common cause of non-inherited mental retardation in the UK and has long term effects. Binge drinking can result in taking part in unsafe sex, accidents, violence and can cause long term effects such as liver problems. It effects you physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually.

Smoking...Smoking causes lung, throat and other cancers. Raises blood pressure. Increases risk of underweight and premature babies. Increases risk of coronary heart disease. Can lead to bronchitis and respiratory disorders. Damages skin. Reduces fitness and general health. The tar in cigarettes can cause disorders such as emphysema.

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